Gina Raimondo says ‘we’ve outinnovated China’ amid chips war

Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo proudly held up the progress of American industry on semiconductor manufacturing Sunday, declaring the U.S. has “outinnovated” China as the two nations fight to advance their domestic technology manufacturing.

Semiconductor manufacturing has been a major priority of President Biden’s domestic policy, with Raimondo at the head. Biden has repeatedly held up the CHIPS Act, which invested billions in domestic semiconductor manufacturing, as both an economic and national security victory during his reelection campaign.

“If you think about national security today in 2024, it’s not just tanks and missiles; it’s technology. It’s semiconductors. It’s AI. It’s drones. And the Commerce Department is at the red-hot center of technology,” Raimondo said in a CBS “60 Minutes” interview with Lesley Stahl on Sunday.

She warned that relying on China for semiconductor manufacturing puts critical American industries at risk, and noted that the administration has made strides toward taking that manufacturing stateside.

“We want to trade with China on the vast majority of goods and services. But on those technologies that affect our national security, no,” she said. “They also go into nuclear weapons, surveillance systems. And we know they want these chips and our sophisticated technology to advance their military.”

Raimondo bragged that the best semiconductors being manufactured in China now, by industry giant Huawei, are now substantially behind the best American counterparts.

“What it tells me is the export controls are working, because that chip is not nearly as good,” she said of the Chinese example. “It’s years behind what we have in the United States.”

“We have the most sophisticated semiconductors in the world. China doesn’t,” she continued. We’ve outinnovated China.”

Much of the semiconductor production is in Taiwan, which is constantly under threat from Chinese invasion. Raimondo said the situation makes the U.S. “vulnerable.”

The Biden administration has announced tens of billions of dollars in investment toward new semiconductor manufacturing plants in Arizona, Texas, New York and elsewhere. Raimondo predicted that the investments could bring as many as a half million jobs by 2030.

“We allowed manufacturing in this country to wither on the vine in search of cheaper labor in Asia, cheaper capital in Asia, and here we are,” she said. “We just pursued profit over national security.”

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