Hassan promotes bill for U.S. to better compete with China

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Jun. 1—WASHINGTON — A panel of private business executives and higher education administrators endorsed legislation U.S. Sen. Maggie Hassan, D-N.H., is authoring to help American companies outcompete China while strengthening national security.

The United States Innovation and Competition Act has bipartisan support. More than $200 billion would be spent on domestic research, development and manufacturing.

"This will allow you to do the outreach to so many firms, all need this assistance so they can be secure and resilient for their next product development," Hassan said to business executives on Tuesday during a virtual discussion on the issue.

Marc Sedam, vice provost for Innovation & New Ventures at the University of New Hampshire, said this bill would for the first time provide federal support for technology transfer programs that work on identifying what will be the next wave of technology to make American business more competitive.

The measure would help create other hubs of technology innovation to add to the five that currently exist in the U.S. — in Boston; Austin, Texas; the Research Triangle in North Carolina; Silicon Valley in California; and Chicago, he said.

"This legislation will help fund the investment that leads to the next technology innovation," Sedam said.

Steve Papa, co-founder, chairman and CEO of Parallel Wireless in Nashua, said it's difficult for the United States to compete with Huawei, China's leading technology company that enjoys massive government subsidies.

U.S. authorities also charge that Huawei became a leader in the technology race by stealing proprietary secrets of American competitors.

"China is very intent on very taking over our high-margin, semiconductor (computer chip) industry and they are tilting the playing field," Papa said.

"Huawei has become the leader globally because they invested in innovation and not just because they stole things."

Tim Dining, vice president and general manager of Jewell Instruments, said exporters like his firm were hit hard by the tariffs imposed on China by the Trump administration.

"Our most significant competitors in the world are in Europe and they don't have the tariffs I pay," Dining said.

"The most significant issue we face is a lack of coherent manufacturing policy in Washington and this legislation would help put American back on that track."

Hassan chairs the subcommittee on emerging threats of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee.

She's optimistic the full Senate will pass this legislation next week.

klandrigan@unionleader.com

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