Startups this week - 7/23/19

China & the West Wing. White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin met with leaders of Google, Intel, Micron, Qualcomm, Broadcom, Cisco, and other tech companies yesterday to discuss Huawei and the China trade war. The Trump administration blacklisted Huawei and banned sales of U.S. technology to the Chinese telecoms giant on national security grounds in May, but President Donald Trump softened his stance at the G-20 summit in Osaka at the end of last month. This thaw helped to restart trade talks between the two countries that stalled back in May.

What this means for startups. Huawei is interwoven with the larger trade conflict with China that has caused the United States to impose tariffs on billions of Chinese goods and China to respond with tariffs of their own. Engine believes these tariffs dampen startup activity, chill growth and innovation in the technology sector, and lead to fewer jobs and higher costs. Resolving the trade war with China would inject greater certainty into the technology sector, lower barriers to entry, and remove the present burden on startup innovation. 

President Trump’s mixed messaging on China has also made it more difficult for tech companies to receive clarity about their overseas business decisions. Trump did agree during the meeting to a request from affected companies that the Commerce Department work to provide “timely licensing decisions” on sales to Huawei, which could help alleviate some confusion. As any deal struck to resolve the trade dispute with China is likely to involve Huawei, startups are paying attention to the outcome of their larger tech companies' interactions with policymakers. 

On the Horizon.

  • The Senate Commerce Committee is planning a markup of several 5G bills on Wednesday morning, including legislation—the Broadband Deployment Accuracy and Technological Availability Act—to improve the accuracy of the data collected for the FCC’s broadband availability maps. 

  • The Senate Judiciary’s Subcommittee on Intellectual Property is holding a July 30 hearing on “Oversight of the Copyright Office” with Register of Copyrights Karyn Temple.