Tech ex­ecs at White House field ideas for US dom­i­nance

The Trentonian (Trenton, NJ) - - BUSINESS - By Matt O’brien

Top ex­ec­u­tives from Google, Mi­crosoft, IBM, Or­a­cle and Qual­comm gath­ered Thurs­day at the White House amid strained ties be­tween Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump’s ad­min­is­tra­tion and the tech in­dus­try and an on­go­ing trade war with China.

The White House de­scribed the Thurs­day meet­ing as a lis­ten­ing ses­sion to field ideas for se­cur­ing Amer­i­can dom­i­nance in ar­ti­fi­cial in­tel­li­gence, quan­tum com­put­ing, ad­vanced man­u­fac­tur­ing and faster wire­less tech­nol­ogy known as 5G.

Trump stopped by, but it was his daugh­ter and ad­viser, Ivanka Trump, who took a more ac­tive role in co­or­di­nat­ing the gath­er­ing. At­ten­dees in­cluded Google CEO Sun­dar Pichai, Mi­crosoft CEO Satya Nadella, IBM CEO Ginni Rometty, Or­a­cle co-CEO Safra Catz and Qual­comm CEO Steven Mol­lenkopf.

Some of Trump’s poli­cies on trade and im­mi­gra­tion have an­tag­o­nized the tech in­dus­try.

The Trump ad­min­is­tra­tion’s trade war with China has threat­ened to make prod­ucts like iPhones more ex­pen­sive. The Com­merce Depart­ment is ex­plor­ing new ex­port re­stric­tions that would tar­get in­dus­tries where China is hop­ing to get ahead, such as ar­ti­fi­cial in­tel­li­gence and ro­bot­ics.

And a re­cent U.S.-Chi­nese cease-fire over the tar­iff dis­pute was at risk of un­rav­el­ing this week as Cana­dian au­thor­i­ties ar­rested an ex­ec­u­tive for Chi­nese phone-maker Huawei Tech­nolo­gies for pos­si­ble ex­tra­di­tion to the United States.

U.S. Trade Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Robert Lighthizer and chief eco­nomic ad­viser Larry Kud­low were ex­pected at the Thurs­day sum­mit.

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