France’s agony over sub-agreement could not be helped | Froma Harrop


Chinese elites saw it accelerate what they saw as America’s decline. They viewed Trump as “ignorant, erratic and boring,” according to The Economist. They liked that he did not condemn the Chinese repression and that he opposed military action abroad.

They must also have liked that Trump pulled the United States out of the Trans-Pacific Partnership. The trade deal was designed to help its members, including Canada, Japan and Australia, compete with China. America’s exit from the TPP has helped China advance its economic dominance of Southeast Asia.

Biden has pledged to engage in “extreme competition.” China is spending huge sums of government money on building a massive semiconductor industry. Computer chips are the brains that power airplanes, cell phones, and cars. You can’t have a modern economy without them, and a semiconductor shortage is hampering American manufacturing.

The United States is joining Japan, India and Australia to develop their own semiconductor supply chains. One of the reasons we and our allies need a strong defense capability in the Pacific is fear of China invading Taiwan, which produces more than 60% of the world’s computer chips.

The administration is seeking to significantly expand the US manufacture of lithium-ion batteries. Used in electric cars and to store renewable energy, these batteries are essential to a green economy. China has 93 “gigafactories” that manufacture them. The United States has four.

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