Cybersecurity or Protectionism? Defusing the Most Volatile Issue in the U.S.-China Relationship
For more than a decade, the United States and China have been engaged in a low-profile, high-technology trade war that has been conducted in the name of protecting critical economic and national security infrastructure from cyber malfeasance. But the trade restrictions and subsidies suggest that the objectives of both governments have less to do with cybersecurity than they do with industrial policy and protectionism. For several years, Chinese information and communications technology (ICT) companies effectively have been blacklisted by the U.S. government, which continues to actively advise U.S. telecommunications firms to avoid purchasing their products. On more than one occasion, the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS) raised security concerns over prospective acquisitions of U.S. companies by Chinese ICT companies, ultimately preventing those transactions from taking place.