To contend with technology threats from China, two U.S. senators brought forward a bill that would make an office in the White House for safeguarding supply chains and combating theft. The bill, which aims to create an Office of Critical Technologies and Security, was a bipartisan effort by U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) and U.S. Senator Mark Warner (D-VA), Reuters reported.
Warner said in a press release that “we need a whole-of-government technology strategy to protect U.S. competitiveness in emerging and dual-use technologies and address the Chinese threat by combating technology transfer from the United States.” And Rubio noted that “China continues to conduct a coordinated assault on U.S. intellectual property, U.S. businesses and our government networks and information.”
With the bill, the senators are aiming to organize an inter-agency strategy to combat threats of a high-tech nature to national security by China, as well as other foreign actors, through the office. According to the report, the office would aim to make sure the supply chains of the government (as well as non-governmental supply chains) would not be compromised through reliance on manufacturers abroad. Rubio said in the release that the establishment of the office would “help protect the United States by streamlining efforts across the government.”
The news comes as a trade war between China and the U.S. ended up costing billions of dollars for both countries last year. While agriculture reportedly felt the most pain, a Consumer Technology Association-commissioned study found that the tariffs on products imported from China came at a cost of an additional $1 billion per month for the technology industry.
The trade war has also reportedly harmed the U.S. construction, retail, manufacturing and markets through higher costs for goods. The Dallas Federal Reserve said, according to past reports, “input price pressures remained elevated in part due to tariffs, particularly in manufacturing and construction, and firms were struggling to pass these higher costs onto customers.”