USITO 2017 Fall Board Meeting in Beijing

On November 27-30, Liz Hyman and Stefanie Holland attended the U.S. Information Technology Office (USITO) Board meeting in Beijing, China. The delegation of nearly 40 representatives from tech companies and associations met with U.S. Ambassador to China Terry Branstad and the embassy team. The delegation met with Chinese officials from the following ministries and organizations: Ministry of Commerce (MOFCOM), Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT), Ministry of Public Security (MPS), Cybersecurity Administration of China (CAC), China Institute of Contemporary International Relations (CICIR), China Academy of Information and Communications Technology (CAICT), and the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC).

In these meetings, USITO delivered messages of concern with the Cybersecurity Law implementation measures and scope as well as new standards that put U.S. companies at a severe disadvantage compared to domestic competitors in China’s IT market. China is one of the world’s largest markets for the information and communications technology (ICT) sector, and one that American technology companies cite as a priority for their global operations and competitiveness. The total bilateral trade relationship supports roughly 2.6 million jobs in the United States.

U.S. technology companies have experienced a persistent uptick in protectionist policies in the ICT sector designed to nurture domestic technology champions at the expense of international competition and to secure China’s global dominance in strategic emerging technologies. Despite numerous attempts by the U.S. to engage China to alter these practices, they not only continue to spread, but have become more sophisticated, more institutionalized, and more distributed.

U.S. government representatives in Beijing U.S. outlined a new direction in the U.S.-China bilateral relationship as China continues to adopt industrial policies to prop up their domestic industries while closing out foreign companies. Reversing the trends that are endangering U.S. companies’ intellectual property and pushing U.S. companies and their transformative technologies out of the China market will unlock significant potential gains for U.S. exporters of goods and services. Protecting U.S. jobs and competitiveness, as well as maintaining stability in the bilateral relationship, is crucial to any posture the U.S. takes regarding China’s policies in the ICT sector.  

At the conclusion of the USITO Board meeting, we congratulated Josh Kallmer, senior vice president for global policy at the Information Technology Industry Council (ITI), on his year of service as Chair of USITO. Jimmy Goodrich, Vice President for Global Policy at the Semiconductor Industry Association (SIA), succeeds him as Chair of USITO for the coming year. The Board will convene again next Spring, in Washington, DC. 

Stefanie Holland is CompTIA’s Director, International Government & Regulatory Affairs