The US Senate voted 68-32 on Tuesday for a comprehensive package of laws designed to strengthen the country’s competitiveness with Chinese technology.
The desire for a hard line in dealing with China is one of the few bipartisan views in the deeply divided US Congress, which is tightly controlled by President Joe Biden’s Democrats.
The measure approves approximately $ 190 billion (approximately Rs.13.84.980 billion) in provisions to strengthen U.S. technology and research – and would separately cost $ 54 billion (approximately Rs.393.690 billion) to support US semiconductor and telecom manufacturing and research increase approve equipment, including $ 2 billion (approximately Rs.14,580 billion) destined for chips used by automakers who are experiencing massive bottlenecks and making significant production cuts to have.
The bill must pass the House of Representatives and be sent to the White House for Biden to sign the bill. It is not clear what the legislation will look like in the house or when it could take it up.
The bill contains a number of other China-related provisions, including a ban on downloading the TikTok social media app on government devices, and would block the purchase of drones made and sold by companies backed by the Chinese government. It would also allow diplomats and Taiwanese military personnel to display their flags and wear their uniforms while doing official business in the United States.
It would also create sweeping new mandatory sanctions against Chinese companies involved in US cyberattacks or theft of US intellectual property from US companies, and a review of export controls on items used in support of human rights abuses could.
Senate majority leader Chuck Schumer, a co-sponsor of the measure, warned of the dire consequences if research is not funded to keep up with China.
“If we do nothing, our days as the dominant superpower could end. We don’t want these days to end on our watch. We don’t want America to become a medium-sized nation in this century,” said Schumer.
Biden praised the bill: “We are in a competition to win the 21st century and the starting shot has been fired … We cannot risk falling behind.”
US Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo said the funding could result in seven to ten new US semiconductor plants.
Many US companies praised the bill. General Motors Co said the legislation is “an important step in addressing the semiconductor scarcity that continues to affect US auto manufacturing.”
Some critics have compared the Senate’s funding efforts to China’s high-tech industrial development spurt, dubbed “Made in China 2025”, which has long angered the United States.
The bill is also intended to counter the growing global influence of Beijing through diplomacy by working with allies and strengthening US engagement in international organizations following the “America First” agenda of former Republican President Donald Trump.
Senator Maria Cantwell noted that the bill would approve NASA’s spending and its Artemis mission to the moon.
“As China has made clear, they are going to Mars, we are going back to the moon to prepare for Mars,” said Cantwell.
© Thomson Reuters 2021