U.S.-China Commission Releases 2020 Annual Report to Congress, Makes Recommendations of Technical Standards

Dec 7, 2020

by ASME.org

Last week, the U.S.-China Commission released its 2020 Annual Report to Congress, which includes 19 recommendations for congressional consideration. The Commission is mandated by Congress “to monitor, investigate, and report to Congress on the national security implications of the bilateral trade and economic relationship between the United States and the People’s Republic of China.” The Commission has reviewed a series of hearings Congress has held in the past year, including several on the topic of creating an interagency executive Committee on Technical Standards, and recommends that Congress establish such committee to be responsible for coordinating U.S. government policy and priorities on international standards.
 
The Committee would consist of political appointees from agencies that deal with international technical standards, including the Department of Commerce, the Department of State, the Department of Defense, the Department of Energy, and the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy. The Committee would be responsible for the coordination of international standards within the Federal government, and would be specifically mandated to:
 
  • Identify the technical standards with the greatest potential impact on American national security and economic competitiveness;
  • Coordinate government efforts relating to those standards;
  • Act as a liaison between government, academia, and the private sector to coordinate and enhance joint efforts in relation to standards;
  • Manage outreach to counterpart agencies among U.S. allies and partners;
  • Set funding priorities and recommendations to Congress; and
  • Produce annual reports to Congress on the status of technical standards issues and their impact on U.S. national security and economic competitiveness.
The report provides an overview of the global contest for power and influence, highlighting China’s view of strategic competition with the United States. It also discusses the state of U.S.-China economic and trade relations, including how the two nations are moving ahead in the area of biotechnology.
 
The report finds that China’s approach to biotechnology R&D is to set up “shadow laboratories” that try to mimic what is being done in the U.S. “Through its scientific talent recruitment programs, the Chinese government has systematically targeted the U.S. research community, particularly participants in the biological and medical sciences. Although there are many benefits to research cooperation, Beijing has used financial inducements and other means to encourage foreign researchers to establish shadow laboratories in China that mirror federally funded research conducted in the United States and facilitate the transfer of commercially and medically valuable research to China.”
 
The report also highlights key challenges the U.S. faces in maintaining its position as the global leader in R&D. “Over the past 15 years, as [China’s] economic and technological prowess, diplomatic influence, and military capabilities have grown, China has turned its focus toward surpassing the United States.” In recent years, China has implemented programs aimed at developing next generation technologies. The U.S. too has implemented programs in strategic technology areas. However, China, unlike the U.S., has poured money into ensuring these programs are successful in outpacing U.S. investments.
 
To read the full report, visit: https://www.uscc.gov/annual-report/2020-annual-report-congress?utm_medium=email&utm_source=FYI&dm_i=1ZJN,75HGZ,M3WXSL,SYAHM,1.

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