VIDEO and RUSH TRANSCRIPT: U.S. Rep. Ritchie Torres Participates in Select Committee Hearing Examining Economic Aggression, Competitiveness with Chinese Communist Party

May 17, 2023
Press

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Representative Ritchie Torres (NY-15) last night participated in the third hearing of the House Select Committee on Strategic Competition between the United States and the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), which aims to work in a bipartisan fashion to address geopolitical, economic, diplomatic, and military threats and challenges between the two global superpowers.

The focus of the hearing examined strategies for the U.S. to advance its interests while leveling the playing field and confronting economic aggression and competition by the CCP and featured testimony from three witnesses: the Hon. Robert Lighthizer, United States Trade Representative, Mr. Roger Robinson, Chairman, Prague Security Studies Institute and former Chairman of Congressional U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission, and Dr. Eric Schmidt, Chairman, Special Competitive Studies Project and former CEO, Google.

VIDEO of Rep. Torres’s five minutes of questioning can be found here.

VIDEO of the full hearing can be found here.

A RUSH TRANSCRIPT of Rep. Torres’s remarks and questioning is below, as delivered:

REP. TORRES: Thank you, Mr. Chair. America’s competitive advantage over the rest of the world can be summed up in three I’s. First, investment. America’s singular capacity for capital formation, the U.S. alone accounts for half of the world’s capital. Second is immigration. America’s singular ability to attract people and talent from across the globe to drive both our entrepreneurial and our essential workforce. And the third is innovation. America is a nation of interested investors and immigrants who drive innovation. As a country, we are in danger of squandering our greatest competitive advantages. Advantages that the CCP could never dream of rivaling if we here in Congress, build the political will necessary for unleashing the power of investment, immigration, and innovation to their fullest productive potential. In the end, our greatest enemy is not the CCP, our greatest enemy is ourselves. It is the deepening dysfunction and maddening myopia of a politics that prevents America from becoming the best version of itself. America at its best, can outcompete any adversary anywhere including the CCP. Simply put, the 21st century is ours to lose. Dr. Schmidt, your team and SCSP points out that in 1620, Francis Bacon, one of the fathers of science, identified three revolutionary technologies in his time – printing, gunpowder, and the compass. In the spirit of Francis Bacon, Dr. Schmidt, tell us what are the three most revolutionary technologies of our time? Which country is leading in those three fields, the United States or China? And how do we win in those three fields? And please do not include soybeans from South Dakota in your answer so…

MR. ERIC SCHMIDT, Chairman, Special Competitive Studies Project: Well, I’m a big soybean fan, so…

REP. DUSTY JOHNSON: I approve that message.

MR. SCHMIDT: So, there are many candidates for your answer, but I think a simple list is quantum, AI, and biology. Quantum because quantum is a whole new world of competition and communications and scale. It is just beginning to be powerful. I would score us as somewhat ahead, but not very far ahead, we might be even. And as an example of what China has done, they launched a satellite which entangled essentially two photons that were entangled when they arrived on land 2,000 miles away, which is an extraordinary achievement. The U.S. is not done that yet so that’s of concern. And AI as I’ve mentioned, there’s every reason to think that there are more people working on AI. They understand the strategic initiatives. The sanctions that were put in place have helped us, but I think that that’s a temporary advantage. And synthetic biology, there was a discussion about this earlier for all of you, you should understand. Synthetic biology ultimately means that America will grow many of the things that we manufacture today. Growing them is obviously more energy efficient, it’s more climate friendly, but it’s also another interesting thing. We have an awful lot of bio-mass in our country, especially in the Midwest, and the more rural states. So here you have a technology, which can revolutionize the job loss and the migration into cities by creating this enormously interesting set of industries in each of the states of our heartland. That is both a politically good thing for America but it’s a good economic choice. We need to win all three of those.

REP. TORRES: Who’s winning in synthetic biology so far?

MR. SCHMIDT: So far, I’d say we’re slightly ahead.

REP. TORRES: So, we’re slightly ahead in quantum, slightly ahead in AI, slightly ahead in synthetic biology.

MR. SCHMIDT: And when I say slightly, if I may, we’re talking about a year or two, not very long.

REP. TORRES: Or some would say a few months with respect to AI.

MR. SCHMIDT: Depending on who you ask.

REP. TORRES: The Biden administration has put in place export controls that prevent the transfer of the most advanced semiconductors to the CCP. In response to those export controls, Envidia designed new chips specifically for China – H 800. Is the H 800 sufficiently advanced to enable China to be competitive with the United States and AI?

MR. SCHMIDT: So, the H 800 is not shipping yet. With the conventional wisdom is that you need three of them for every H 100, which we’re using. So, one way to understand it is that China will need three chips to one. And that’s a fairly significant delay because these chips are hard to just hard to install, hard to program and so forth. It’s all very difficult stuff. China has some other disadvantages in AI. One of the things that people don’t understand is that innovation is a repetitive game. They’ve not been doing it enough. Whereas for example, in Taiwan and chips they’ve been doing so well. They’ve really learned how to scale it. The third disadvantage that people don’t appreciate with China is that we’re training on English language and there’s not as much Chinese language for them to learn from. So those advantages, I think, are at least a few years of advantages. And I think that the current policy which allows the H 800 which is essentially network speed gaped, is slower is probably an acceptable compromise.

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