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The Right Way to Protect America’s Innovation Advantage

Getting Smart About the Chinese Threat

A new Xiaomi VR headset is displayed during a product launch in Shenzhen, China, May 2018. Bobby Yip / REUTERS

As the U.S.-Chinese trade war rages on, a broader conflict is brewing between the two countries over which will secure the upper hand in technological innovation. In a speech at the Hudson Institute earlier this month, U.S. Vice President Mike Pence suggested that Beijing is combining unfair trade practices with aggressive influence campaigns, the systematic theft of foreign intellectual property, and heavy-handed support for domestic industries, all with the aim of developing a long-term technological and strategic advantage. Pence’s speech signaled that the endgame to the Trump administration’s China strategy is not a trade deal but rather the decoupling of the U.S. technology sector from its Chinese equivalent in order to preserve the United States’ technological edge.

The Trump administration is right to be concerned, but it is preparing for the wrong kind of technological competition with China. Despite loose talk of a new “

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