Wednesday, 4 April 2018

Some Worst Case Scenarios as the Trade War with China Escalates

As the trade war and tension with China escalates, I am thinking about some worst case scenarios—particularly in the academic context concerning intellectual property/valuable information.  At least one commentator has made the allegation that the Trump Administration may attempt to restrict students from China.  This will greatly hurt some universities who are deriving a substantial amount of revenue from Chinese university students—and will benefit universities in other countries without such a restrictive policy such as Canada.   It is not too much of a jump to think the Trump Administration may also attempt to restrict Chinese professors and researchers from visiting academic institutions or being hired by academic institutions.  There have been quite a few interesting allegations raised concerning Confucius Institutes at U.S. universities.  I am wondering whether the United States and other countries will attempt to restrict the travel and employment in China of their academics who are citizens of their respective countries.  For example, let’s say a top researcher who is a U.S. citizen at Stanford University is offered a position at a major university in China or another country.  Could the U.S. government attempt to restrict the academic from moving (or even giving academic presentations)?  Does that happen already?  Certainly, we do have U.S. export control laws that would restrict certain technologies from being disclosed to a national of another country even in this country.  Perhaps a distinction will be made based on whether the research is funded by the government.  What about publication?  Will the Trump Administration also attempt to restrict academics from publishing certain research--there are some rules concerning national security and publication of patents?  Ultimately, does it matter if we do not have adequate cybersecurity protections?  

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