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Security

White House vows 'multilateral' approach to dealing with Huawei, China

The Biden administration is busy undoing a lot of Donald Trump's policy handiwork this week via a flurry of executive orders, but the new White House isn't going to go easy on Huawei.

When asked whether President Biden would keep Huawei on the US entity list, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki, in Monday's briefing, said technology is at the very center of US-China competition. Psaki didn't namecheck Huawei but said, "China has been willing to do whatever it takes to gain a technological advantage – stealing intellectual property, engaging in industrial espionage, and forcing technology transfer.

"Our view – the President's view – is that we need to play a better defense, which must include holding China accountable for its unfair and illegal practices, and making sure that American technologies aren't facilitating China's military buildup."

Psaki said Biden is "firmly committed to making sure that Chinese companies cannot misappropriate and misuse American data."

But, she noted that in its push back against Beijing's growing authoritarianism and global economic influence, the US won't be acting alone. "We need a comprehensive strategy… a more systematic approach that actually addresses the full range of these issues."

"We're in serious competition with China," Psaki said to the room of reporters. "China's engaged in conduct that hurts American workers, blunts our technological edge, and threatens our alliances and our influence and international organizations."

After noting that China has become increasingly "more authoritarian at home and more assertive abroad," Psaki noted that the Biden administration wants to approach all of this with "some strategic patience."

She noted that interagency reviews and coordination were a must. In addressing a question about tariffs on Chinese-made goods, Psaki noted that President Biden will "take a multilateral approach to engaging with China, and that includes evaluating the tariffs currently in place, and he wants to ensure that we take any steps in coordination with our allies and partners, and with Democrats and Republicans in Congress, as well."

As she buttoned up the answer to the tariffs question, Psaki signaled that Team Biden is likely to keep pushing back on China's economic world dominance, and that means Huawei's prospects in the US won't change materially. "The President is committed to stopping China's economic abuses on many fronts," Psaki said, "and the most effective way to do that is through working in concert with our allies and partners to do exactly that."

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Phil Harvey, Editor-in-Chief, Light Reading

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