Washington seeks “competitive edge” over Beijing technology

Global Business

Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella was among the top tech leaders attending a discussion at the White House. PHOTO: NICHOLAS KAMM/AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE/GETTY IMAGES

U.S. President Donald Trump, U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and other White House economic advisors met with key leaders in global technology, Thursday.

U.S. officials say Ivanka Trump, Jared Kushner and NEC Director, Larry Kudlow also attended.

CGTN’s Jessica Stone reports.

CEO’s from tech giants Microsoft, Google, IBM, Qualcomm and Oracle – as well as the presidents of MIT and Carnegie Melon University – participated in a roundtable at the White House.

It’s part of a Trump administration effort to “advance American leadership in innovation, and the future of American industries, jobs, and our economy,” officials said. Their goal: to ensure American dominance in artificial intelligence, 5G, Quantum computing and advanced manufacturing.

Beijing launched a similar initiative, calling its effort to dominate high-tech industries of the future, “Made in China 2025.”

In discussions with reporters, senior administration officials admitted, they are motivated by “the threat” of China.

“We take it very seriously,” said one official.

The White House meeting on Thursday coincided with the 12th Parliamentary Intelligence-Security Forum on Capitol Hill—attended by representatives from 80 countries. Attendees discussed new ways to protect critical infrastructure and technology from cyber criminals and intellectual property theft.

“We are increasingly concerned about nation-state actors viewing critical infrastructure, such as the networks that we operate as being collateral in some of these geopolitical issues,” said Chris Boyer, Assistant Vice President AT&T.

Jake Norwood, the director of Citigroup’s Cyber Intelligence Center, encouraged more cooperation between governments and the private sector. “Share the info that you have as governments and help facilitate the sharing of the information that the corporations within your countries have with one another so that we can protect one another,” Norwood said.

Norwood said hackers can exploit a known defect in a technology or software product within 48 hours. He asked the audience: can you patch that same defect in the same amount of time?

The room was silent.