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TechTank: Is Economic Decoupling Possible for the United States?

For several decades, many American companies have shifted manufacturing to countries such as China and India. The idea was to integrate the global economy, allow various nations to focus on different sectors, and build global supply chains that used components from many different places. However, when the COVID-19 pandemic emerged in 2020, it wreaked havoc on this model. Shortages developed and strained companies’ ability to get the components needed for their products. At the same time, worries over national security and international competitiveness led many to rethink this approach, pushing many to support onshore manufacturing in the United States or near-shore in neighboring countries.

Decoupling continues to move forward in the tech space, particularly in computer chips manufacturing. With the American government investing billions in bringing manufacturing capabilities back to the United States, it has indicated a clear mission to compete with China. Can the United States find self-dependency and how would it affect systems already in place?

On this episode of the TechTank Podcast, co-host Darrell West is joined by two distinguished experts to discuss if economic decoupling is possible for the United States. Melanie Sisson is a fellow in the Foreign Policy program at the Brookings Institution, where she focuses on national security in the Strobe Talbott Center for Security, Strategy, and Technology. Emily Weinstein is a research fellow at Georgetown University’s Center for Security and Emerging Technology where she focuses on U.S.-China technological competition.  

You can listen to the episode and subscribe to the TechTank podcast on AppleSpotify, or Acast.