Robotic arm with microchip. Photo: AFP
Robotic arm with microchip. Photo: AFP

Amid the high-stakes trade negotiations still under way between China and the United States, Beijing is moving full steam ahead with a strategy that one top White House adviser said was the target of US trade action.

In a radio interview several weeks ago, Trump administration trade adviser Peter Navarro said that keeping China from becoming a leader in high-tech industries was “exactly” what planned tariffs aimed to do.

Navarro’s comments were in reference to the Made in China 2025 strategy, which aims to help China become a leader in emerging industries, such as semiconductors, renewable energy and artificial intelligence. The plan was cited in a Trump administration tariff announcement two weeks ago.

While the world waits to see whether the US will impose the tariffs, which are due to be officially proposed on Friday and put into effect “shortly thereafter,” China is marching ahead with its strategy. A scaling back of the plan, Beijing made clear, was never on the negotiating table.

On Tuesday, China’s top economic planner and China Construction Bank announced plans to set up a fund for as much as US$46.85 billion, according to Xinhua.

The money will target sectors including advanced information technology, high-end equipment, new materials, and new energy vehicles.

China has already put massive amounts of money where its mouth is on the issue of moving up the value ladder, including in the so-called “big fund,” which has raised tens of billions of dollars’ worth of capital to go toward the semiconductor industry.

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