US must up the ante in R&D, tech and compete with China

It is odd that the United States is blaming the whole world for America's job losses and trade deficit woes.

President Donald Trump does not appear to realise that it is automation and sophisticated artificial intelligence that have eliminated millions of jobs.

He has mistaken trade deficits for unfair trade practices, and wants to extract more benefits by imposing high import tariffs on trading partners.

China has been the target of this "trade war" (S'pore will suffer in US-China trade war, by Mr Phillip Tan Fong Lip; April 6).

It is difficult to decipher the thoughts behind Mr Trump's actions and statements. Perhaps he is trying to divert attention from investigations into his links with Russia. Perhaps this is a ploy to frustrate China's rise and progress.

America should realise that innovation and creativeness are not unique to it.

China has increased spending on research and development and made significant strides in the fields of supercomputing, telecommunication, artificial intelligence, robotics, automation and finance.

It has earned the right to internationalise the yuan and challenge the dollar.

If Mr Trump wants to make America great again, he should increase spending on R&D as well, raise the ante in science and technology and openly compete with China.

Paul Chan Poh Hoi

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 13, 2018, with the headline 'US must up the ante in R&D, tech and compete with China'. Print Edition | Subscribe