There’s been a simmering spat between the United States and China centered on national security and technology investments and where the two intersect. Might the simmer become a full-fledged boil?
As Reuters reports, the U.S. is on the verge of boosting its examination of what, where, how and how much Chinese investment comes Silicon Valley’s way, in an effort to “better shield” technologies that are tied to national security. That commentary, said the newswire, comes via several active and former officials in the U.S. Increased interest will bear down on artificial intelligence, among other areas, as there are concerns over whether such technologies help boost Chinese military might.
One upshot is that there may be an increased presence, and oversight, from the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States, commonly known as CFIUS, which in turn looks at cross-border acquisitions of assets in the U.S. In one example of intent, perhaps, by the Trump administration, Defense Secretary James Mattis said that the agency was an “outdated” one and must be overhauled.
One Senator, John Cornyn, is working to shape legislation that would give CFIUS the ability to put the brakes on at least some tech investment activity here, informed by the input by the Pentagon, private sector firms and other agencies such as the Energy Department.