Sunday, March 24, 2019
The criminal indictment of "China's" Huawei, for stealing technology from the "American" Micron Inc, is not a normal trade dispute. Micron acquired the technology in 2012 when it acquired Elpida, a corporation that developed the technology in Japan and then produced it in Japan and Taiwan. The technology that was allegedly stolen was developed and produced overseas and the workers who allegedly stole it were two Micron workers in Taiwan. Micron fired hundreds of employees in Boise, Idaho, and opened more manufacturing capacity in mainland China. In 2002 Micron admitted to the Federal Trade Commission that it had colluded with its competitors, including Elpida, to raise prices. Knowing this, the Department of Justice should have blocked the merger with Elpida. The indictment enshrines Micron's monopoly power.
Huawei's Mate 10 and Mate 20 phones have features, including 5G capabilities, that Huawei's engineers developed first, and these would have made them high quality alternatives to the existing phones, perhaps even offered at lower prices. If the latest technologies were made available at affordable prices anywhere in the world, governments of technologically backward countries could let the wages of their workers rise, and US wages would then rise with them. The US government should not have intervened.
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