ChinaEconTalk, Live from Washington, D.C.


ChinaEconTalk is live from the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace in Washington, D.C., with Martijn Rasser, a senior fellow in the Technology and National Security Program at the Center for a New American Security. Host Jordan Schneider sits down with Martijn to discuss a few of the more contentious topics surrounding the ongoing friction between the United States and China, including rare earths, the strategic implications of 5G, concerns about Huawei software and security, and global ICT standard setting. 

What to listen for on this week’s ChinaEconTalk:

9:59: The United States’ sole rare earths mine reopened 18 months ago in Mountain View, California. Martijn explains the U.S. domestic supply of rare earth metals and processing capacity: “When the trade dispute started flaring up, one of the threats was that China said they may curtail their rare earth exports. Right now, that has a tremendous impact on the United States because we only have one mine that recently reopened, and the United States has no processing capability.” 

Martijn continues: “Yes, China’s threat is real, but it has a time limit on it. Basically, in about two years’ time, the United States, Australia, Japan, and so forth can have a very secure and diverse supply chain. So if China does want to use the threat of curtailing exports, the window is closing on being able to do that.” 

17:22: Earlier in September, Huawei announced that it would permit a onetime licensing deal, allowing a buyer to analyze and modify their source code. Martijn provides his take: “It reminded me of that great line from Spinal Tap: ‘It’s such a fine line between stupid and clever.’” He continues, “Essentially, you’re looking at building a company from scratch using some aspects of another company’s technology. So why do that, right? You could just start on your own instead of paying somebody else for the privilege of using their stuff as a springboard.” 

This podcast was edited and produced by Jason MacRonald.