Thursday 10 June 2021 7:32 pm

UK and US double down on tech collaboration amid China threat

The UK and the US today agreed to deepen ties in science and tech innovation, as the West looks to stave off growing competition from China.

As part of the revised Atlantic Charter agreed by Prime Minister Boris Johnson and President Joe Biden today, the two sides vowed to form a new partnership to create jobs and protect the security of their citizens.

Both nations set out aims to “continue to lead the world in research and development, investing in our expertise and capacity to create wealth and tackle inequality, and ensure the values of liberal democracies, open societies and open markets are embedded in the design and use of technology globally”.

The partnership will include several areas of collaboration, including research, innovation, defence, security, law enforcement and intelligence.

Officials will also work together to strengthen resilience and security of critical supply chains, battery technologies and new areas such as AI.

It comes amid ongoing concerns about China’s technological advances and the potential threat to national security.

The UK has already banned tech giant Huawei from building its 5G network due to concerns about espionage and links to Beijing — something the company has always denied. 

Biden’s administration this week revoked Trump’s efforts to ban Chinese-owned social media apps Tiktok and Wechat over data-sharing fears.

However, the president signed a new executive order directing the US Commerce Department to evaluate the risks of apps with links to China.

Britain is also looking to build on its status as Europe’s leading tech hub by attracting more investment in new technology and innovation.

A recent report by the government’s Digital Economy Council and Dealroom showed the tech industry has expanded tenfold over the last decade, both in terms of venture capital investment and the number of British unicorns.

“In the 80 years since the Atlantic Charter was signed, technology has changed the world beyond recognition. But the goals that underpin it still bind the US and UK together today: support for democracy, open societies and free markets,” said digital secretary Oliver Dowden.

“Today’s announcement marks a new era of cooperation with our closest ally, in which we commit to using technology to create prosperity and guarantee the safety and security of our citizens for years to come.”