We cannot allow China to set the standards and control the technology for 5G

We cannot allow China to set the standards and control the technology for 5G
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Some think that the current struggle between China and the United States revolves around trade. While that is certainly a part of the negotiations, people would be mistaken in thinking that is what it's ultimately about.

The fight between the United States and China is about who will control the technology of the future and the implications of who controls it: Will it be the world’s largest authoritarian police state? Or will it be the world’s greatest free-market economy?

While our past leaders, both Republican and Democrat, were miserably mistaken about China’s ultimate goals, Donald TrumpDonald TrumpEx-Trump lawyer Cohen to pen forward for impeachment book Murkowski says it would be 'appropriate' to bar Trump from holding office again Man known as 'QAnon Shaman' asks Trump for pardon after storming Capitol MORE has been very clear-eyed about China’s desire to replace the United States as the center of the global economy.


A very real part of that equation is who will control future technology and networks. He recently issued a challenge to America’s innovators to not fall behind our foreign competitors. Taking to social media, the President tweeted:

“I want 5G, and even 6G, technology in the United States as soon as possible. It is far more powerful, faster, and smarter than the current standard. American companies must step up their efforts, or get left behind.”

Trump is right to call upon America’s technology companies to put the pedal down and drive American innovation forward. Our industries are already doing just that. Now, more than ever, it is important that American standards on free speech, intellectual property rights and individual liberty be global standards guiding our increasingly interconnected world. But China, guilty of appalling intellectual property theft, is also subsidizing its companies, namely Huawei, as much as necessary to win the battle for 5G.

Yet, we have a problem, typical of an administrative state filled with burdensome regulations and government regulators who refuse to get out of the way of our innovators: We potentially have government regulators mistakenly doing the bidding of our foreign competitors. This latter point is something that has disturbingly reared its head at the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). As I’ve written in the past, the fight to set 5G technology standards has erupted into many proxy wars.

The FTC is suing the U.S. chip manufacturer and 5G leader, Qualcomm, our best hope in winning the war for 5G. All of this increasingly looks like actions that would benefit China’s tech proxy, Huawei. We should remember that in a recent interview with Fox Business’ Maria Bartiromo, Secretary of State Mike PompeoMike PompeoVoice of America journalists demand director's resignation over Pompeo event UN officials: Houthis terror designation is 'death sentence' for Yemen civilians The Hill's Morning Report - Trump impeached again; now what? MORE stated: “If a country adopts this [Huawei technology] and puts it in some of their critical information systems, we won’t be able to share information with them. We won’t be able to work alongside them.”


Now, the FTC's lawsuit has its origins in an eleventh-hour action by the Obama administration against Qualcomm but has morphed into a potentially winner-take-all battle with Huawei. In a bizarre twist, the FTC action against Qualcomm kicked off with testimony from Huawei executives and consultants – along with executives from another Chinese technology company, Lenovo.

To put a fine point on it, our government used Huawei executives as expert witnesses to testify against Qualcomm.

Yet, last year, the administration recognized the important role that Qualcomm plays in the battle for global leadership of 5G when it blocked a hostile takeover of Qualcomm by Broadcom, which was based in Singapore and would likely chop Qualcomm into parts and sell them. The administration argued that the acquisition would harm Qualcomm’s research and development model and hobble the U.S. company that was leading the world in 5G development.

Thomas Duesterberg of the Hudson Institute noted in Forbes, “While the U.S. government is pulling out all the stops to undermine Huawei’s drive to dominate the 5G future, its own Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is pursuing litigation which, if successful, would seriously damage the only major U.S. competitor to that Chinese company: Qualcomm. Given the importance of the 5G rollout to both national security and economic leadership in this technology, the outcome of this case has major implications for the U.S.-China rivalry in coming decades.”

Only in Washington would such insanity be allowed to happen.

The White House must address the issue because of the future implications: The U.S.-China fight over 5G and innovation will likely be a long-term battle. Huawei – and the Chinese government – are spending heavily to increase their role in 5G. We need aggressive leadership, along with smart and responsible regulatory policies and actions.

We’ve no need to be throwing roadblocks in the way of our innovators who are working to step up and set international standards. It is asinine that our FTC is turning to leading Chinese companies to assist in a case that could undermine American leadership and security. Such behavior must stop, and stop now: For the sake of our national security, we cannot, we must not, allow China to set the standards and control the technology for 5G.

Ned Ryun is a former presidential writer for President George W. Bush and the founder and CEO of American Majority, which trains conservative political candidates and activists.