published : 2023-08-21

UK Evaluates Response to Biden's Chinese Tech Investment Ban Amid National Security Appraisal

US Treasury Secretary Granted Power by President Biden to Curb American Investments in Select Chinese Firms

A shot of Prime Minister Rishi Sunak in deep thought at his desk, symbolizing the evaluation of Britain's response - Taken with Canon EOS 5D Mark IV

In the light of a recent executive order signed by US President Joe Biden, the United Kingdom finds itself mulling the optimal response. This pivotal move empowers the US Treasury Secretary to restrict American investments in specific Chinese technology sectors.

The sectors delineated by the order include semiconductors and microelectronics, quantum information technologies, and particular types of artificial intelligence systems.

Passed on Wednesday, the order purportedly intends to counteract national security threats, a claim that China greeted with severe concern upon hearing the news.

Detail of a microchip, representing the tech sectors specified in President Biden's executive order - Taken with Nikon D850

The UK government under Prime Minister Rishi Sunak continues to sift through the potential national security implications from particular investments. The executive order's clarity regarding the US strategy is an important touchstone for their analysis.

These deliberations come as the UK tries to iron out the creases from past frictions over security issues in Hong Kong and alleged Uyghur Muslim human rights abuses in its relations with China.

In April, Foreign Secretary James Cleverly outlined Britain's revised approach, aiming to buffer the nation against potential national security threats emanating from China while pursuing engagement in areas such as trade, investment, and climate change.

Image of the United States and British flags flying together, epitomizing the historical alliance between the two nations - Taken with Sony Alpha A7 III

Just last month, Biden and Sunak memorialized a pact designed to fortify the historic security alliance between their respective countries, intensifying economic ties in domains like advanced technologies, clean energy, and critical minerals.

Notably, official data illustrates that China isn't a major recipient of British foreign investment, with cumulative investments standing at $13.6 billion as of the end of 2021. This pales in comparison to the 461.4 billion pounds invested in the United States, while British investment in Hong Kong totaled 77.6 billion pounds.