Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo called for tighter export controls on advanced technologies going to China and labeled Beijing “the biggest threat we’ve ever had.”
Raimondo made the comments at the annual Reagan National Defense Forum in California. “On matters of national security, we got to be eyes wide open about the threat. This is the biggest threat we’ve ever had,” she said.
Raimondo said there were areas where the US and China could cooperate and that Washington needed to manage its relationship with Beijing but added, “Make no mistake about it, China’s not our friend.”
Since taking her post as commerce secretary, Raimondo has overseen a ramping up of significant economic sanctions on China, including recent measures to limit Beijing’s access to advanced semiconductors. The US justifies the restrictions by claiming it’s trying to prevent China’s military from using the technology, but the chips being banned have many different uses.
Explaining her actions, Raimondo said, “I know there are CEOs of chip companies in this audience who were a little cranky with me when I did that, because you’re losing revenue. Such is life, protecting our national security matters more than short-term revenue.”
She continued, “Newsflash: democracy is good for your businesses. Rule of law here and around the world is good for your businesses.”
Raimondo said the US could not let China catch up to it technologically. “We’re a couple of years ahead of China. No way are we gonna let them catch up. We cannot let them catch up. So we’re gonna deny them our most cutting-edge technology,” she said.
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin hit back at Raimondo, saying the US should “stop seeing China as a hypothetical enemy and saying one thing but doing another.”
Wang also said the US should “stick to the right perception and work with China to deliver on the common understandings reached in the San Francisco meeting,” referring to recent talks between President Biden and Chinese President Xi Jinping.