Rivalry in high-tech field key issue in China-US relations

The main problem of the trade relations between the US and China does not lie in the US trade deficit with China but in the rivalry in the high-technology area, according to a Canadian-American economist.

Robert Atkinson, founder and president of the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation, a public policy think tank based in Washington, recently said that the US must learn to be more open-minded and adopt policies beneficial to the development of high technologies when facing a China which is doubling down on technological innovation and research and development of new technologies to lift its position in the global value chain.

As China is growing as a major trade power in the world, he suggested that the US should strengthen its economic partnership with the Latin American countries such as Mexico in order to improve its trade diversification and enhance its status in the economic system in Latin America.

Atkinson attributed the downturn of the American productivity to the country's failure in designing a talent cultivation policy to support the fast development of new technologies, saying that evaluating the impact of new technologies such as robotics on the economy and employment and adopting a proper talent cultivation program to catch up with the trend of technological advancement should be put on the top of the agenda of the US government.

The economist described the current situation of the Chinese economy as "very complicated", citing the fact that many sectors of the economy follow the principle of free market while the Chinese government still intervenes in many other sectors. In the global trade, the Chinese government uses subsidy as a tool to enhance the international competitiveness of the Chinese companies, he said, adding that this trade practice must change.

Atkinson, who used to be an innovation adviser serving the administrations of Clinton, Bush and Obama, thought highly of Trumps' tax reform, saying that his tax policy will not only largely reduce US companies' costs of technological innovation but also will lead to the return of their overseas capital to the home base.

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