Op-ed: America Shouldn’t Compete Against China With One Arm Tied Behind Its Back

April 01, 2022

By Robert Lighthizer

By 

The Senate recently passed a bill intended to bolster America’s technological and industrial capacity as we compete against China. The bill, called the U.S. Innovation and Competition Act, began as a serious, bipartisan effort to meet one of our country’s greatest challenges.

But in one of those “only in Washington” moments, a bill written to make our country more competitive with China now includes an amendment that will do exactly the opposite.

This legislation is fundamentally important because winning our contest with China is vital to our future. This country has the largest economy in the world, the best armed forces and the most robust science and technology ecosystem, but China is using all the tools available to an authoritarian government to try to overtake us. We must use all those in a free democratic system to prevail.

To do that, we need a multifaceted long-term strategy. China certainly has one. Our strategy must include a tax and regulatory regime that encourages innovation, job creation and manufacturing in America; an industrial policy that includes subsidies to foster the development of the most advanced science and technology; a modern, highly trained and focused military; full engagement from our intelligence and diplomatic communities; and a robust plan to combat China’s unfair trade practices.

Read the full op-ed here