Trade War to Tech War

(May 2020) In this piece, Peter Sandham considers the consequences of the anticipated friction caused by the US's new export controls on computer chips made abroad with American IP or equipment.


  • The Trade War is returning as a Tech War.
  • New US export controls aim to limit Huawei’s access to semiconductors anywhere in the world.
  • Tit-for-tat restrictions enforced by Washington and Beijing will likely bring down a new “Silicon Curtain” with companies forced to choose between the Chinese or US market.
  • In Japan, the Abe government is seeking to de-couple its firms from China with fiscal support for the relocation of factories out of China and new legislation restricting foreign ownership. 
  • Technology stock valuations suggest investors are not fully pricing the risk of significant disruption.
  • As with the trade war, ASEAN countries could benefit from shifts in the global supply chain.

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