U.S.-China Technological Rivalry: from Arrogance to Boycott

DOI: 10.20542/0131-2227-2020-64-12-70-77
S. Dmitriev (america@imemo.ru),
Primakov National Research Institute of World Economy and International Relations, Russian Academy of Sciences (IMEMO), 23, Profsoyuznaya Str., Moscow, 117997, Russian Federation

Acknowledgements. The article was prepared within the project “Post-crisis world order: challenges and technologies, competition and cooperation” supported by the grant from Ministry of Science and Higher Education of the Russian Federation program for research projects in priority areas of scientific and technological development (Agreement 075-15-2020-783).

Abstract. The spread of the coronavirus pandemic and the slowdown in economic activity in the United States have strengthened the position of supporters of “decoupling” from China. The U.S.-China relations are progressing from “patient integration” to “impatient disengagement”. Escalating research spending, accelerated industrial modernization, and the expansion of China’s high-tech exports have been identified as major challenges to American technology dominance. The fragility of global value chains in cooperative relationships between US and Chinese companies has become particularly evident. The United States plan to free themselves from dependence on China’s innovative technologies and critical materials. Washington’s efforts to revive the country’s manufacturing industry received a new impetus. American TNCs have begun to return some of their enterprises to the USA. The “technological boycott” of China is aimed at causing maximum damage to the development of any competitive business that presents a challenge to American multinational corporations, and to slow down the progressive technological development of the PRC. Equally important are considerations of industrial policy aimed at crowding out competitors. Washington’s protectionist actions led to a reduction in trade and mutual investment and have put American companies targeting Asian consumers in a difficult position. Washington is beginning to fear that Beijing may powerfully respond to the United States with countermeasures that are sensitive to the American military-industrial complex and innovative sectors of the economy. Washington’s aggressive actions are mobilizing China’s efforts to move up the value chain and localize products to achieve self-sufficiency in key technologies. However, the threat remains that protectionism could become a “new normal” not only for U.S.-China relations. The only viable alternative to this scenario may be the joining of efforts of market participants interested in returning to international legal norms of trade.

Keywords: USA, China, globalization, protectionism, international trade, national security, technological boycott


  1. Remarks by President Trump in Press Conference. Washington, White House, 2020. Available at: https://www.whitehouse.gov/briefings-statements/remarks-president-trump-press-conference-september-7-2020/ (accessed 11.09.2020).
  2. Cordesman A. From Competition to Confrontation with China: the Major Shift in U. S. Policy. Washington, CSIS, 2020. Available at: https://www.csis.org/analysis/competition-confrontation-china-major-shift-us-policy (accessed 11.09.2020).
  3. Is China Leading in Global Innovation? Washington, CSIS, 2020. Available at: https://chinapower.csis.org/china-innovation-global-leader/ (accessed 11.09.2020).
  4. Cyrill M. Shifts in China’s Industrial Supply Chain and the US-China Trade War. Hong Kong, China Briefing from Dezan Shira & Associates, 2019. Available at: https://www.china-briefing.com/news/shifts-chinas-industrial-supply-chain-trade-war/ (accessed 11.09.2020).
  5. Artificial Intelligence and National Security. Washington, CRS, 2020. 39 p. Available at: https://fas.org/sgp/crs/natsec/R45178.pdf (accessed 11.09.2020).
  6. Bacchus J. Democrats and Trade 2021: a Pro Trade Policy for the Democratic Party. Washington, CATO, 2020. Available at: https://www.wita.org/atp-research/democrats-and-trade-2021/ (accessed 11.09.2020).
  7. Globalization in Transition: the Future of Trade and Value Chains. Washington, McKinsey Global Institute, 2019. 132 p. Available at: https://rb.gy/wjmjm9 (accessed 11.09.2020).
  8. Hanemann T. et al. Two-Way Street: 2019 Update US-China Investment Trends. New York, Rhodium Group, 2019. 51 p. Available at: https://www.ncuscr.org/sites/default/files/page_attachments/Two-Way-Street_2019-Update_Full-Report.pdf (accessed 11.09.2020).
  9. Kirichenko E.V. Eksportnyi kontrol’ kak instrument podderzhaniya liderstva SShA v menyayushchemsya mire [Export controls as a tool to maintain U.S. leadership in a changing world]. Polis. Political Studies, 2020, no. 1, pp. 74-88. DOI: https://doi.org/10.17976/jpps/2020.01.06
  10. Commerce Department Further Restricts Huawei Access to U.S. Technology and Adds Another 38 Affiliates to the Entity List. Washington, USDC, 2020. Available at: https://www.commerce.gov/news/press-releases/2020/08/commerce-department-further-restricts-huawei-access-us-technology-and (accessed 11.09.2020).
  11. Murray B. The Great Decoupling? What’s Next for U.S.-China Rift. New York, Bloomberg, 2020. Available at: https://rb.gy/ux9rqh (accessed 11.09.2020).
  12. The USD1 Trillion Cost of Remaking Supply Chains: Significant but Not Prohibitive. New York, BofA Securities, 2020. 6 p. Available at: https://www.bofaml.com/content/dam/boamlimages/documents/articles/ID20_0734/cost_of_remaking_supply_chains.pdf (accessed 11.09.2020).
  13. Lardy N. Are Foreign Companies Really Leaving China in Droves? Washington, Peterson Institute for International Economics, 2019. Available at: https://www.piie.com/blogs/china-economic-watch/are-foreign-companies-really-leaving-china-droves (accessed 11.09.2020).
  14. Trump Says Could “Decouple” and Not Do Business with China. London, Reuters, 2020. Available at: https://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-china-decoupling-idUSKBN25I0S7 (accessed 11.09.2020).
  15. 2019 Annual Report to Congress. Washington, U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission, 2019. Available at: https://www.uscc.gov/annual-report/2019-annual-report (accessed 11.09.2020).
  16. Allen J. et al. How the World Will Look after the Coronavirus Pandemic. Foreign Policy, 20.03.2020. Available at: https://foreignpolicy.com/2020/03/20/world-order-after-coroanvirus-pandemic/ (accessed 11.09.2020).
  17. Scobell A. et al. China’s Grand Strategy. Trends, Trajectories and Long-Term Competition. Santa Monica, RAND Corporation, 2020. 135 p.
  18. Gerstel D., Goodman M. From Industrial Policy to Innovation Strategy. Lessons from Japan, Europe, and the United States. Washington, CSIS, 2020. 33 p. Available at: https://csis-website-prod.s3.amazonaws.com/s3fs-public/publication/200901_Gerstel_InnovationStrategy_FullReport_FINAL_0.pdf (accessed 11.09.2020).
  19. Reinsch W. Democrats Speak on Trade–Sort of. Washington, CSIS, 2020. Available at: https://www.csis.org/analysis/democrats-speak-trade-sort (accessed 11.09.2020).

Registered in System SCIENCE INDEX

For citation:
Dmitriev S. U.S.-China Technological Rivalry: from Arrogance to Boycott. World Eonomy and International Relations, 2020, vol. 64, no. 12, pp. 70-77. https://doi.org/10.20542/0131-2227-2020-64-12-70-77

Comments (0)

No comments

Add comment






Dear authors! Please note that in the VAK List of peer-reviewed scientific journals, in which the main scientific results of dissertations for the degree of candidate and doctor of sciences should be published for the “MEMO Journal” the following specialties are recorded:
economic sciences:
5.2.5. World Economy.
5.2.1. Economic Theory
5.2.3. Regional and Branch Economics
political sciences:
5.5.4. International Relations
5.5.1. History and Theory of Politics
5.5.2. Political Institutions, Processes, Technologies


Current Issue
2024, vol. 68, No. 4
Topical Themes of the Issue:
  • Financial Contagion Propagation in Europe under the Impact of Global Shocks
  • Regional Powers on the African Continent: Trends and Prospects
  • Investment Activity of the PRC in the Kyrgyz Republic
  • “Land Grabbing” Concept: Global and National Aspects
Submit an Article
The Editorial Board invites authors to write analytical articles on the following topics:
  • changes in the processes of globalization in modern conditions
  • formation of the new world order
  • shifts in civilization at the stage of transition to a digital society

The editors are also interested in publishing synthesis articles / scientific reviews revealing the main trends in the development of certain regions of the world - Latin America, Africa, South Asia, etc.