Science and technology cooperation benefits the United States, China, and the world

Experts are urging the administration of United States President Joe Biden to renew the US-China science and technology cooperation agreement, which they say has brought “tremendous” benefits to both countries and the world. The contract expired on Sunday.

“Some cooperation is just about being good citizens of the world. It would not only help the relationship, it would help the world,” said Mark Cohen, director of the Asia IP Project at the University of California, Berkeley’s Center for Law and Technology.

The center recently held a webinar inviting former science officials and scientists to examine the results of the settlement.

“Overall, our view was that the US, as a peer competitor, now has much more to learn from China in areas where it excels. We also learned that cross-border joint research is often of the highest quality,” Cohen said. .

Bilateral research cooperation has produced breakthroughs that have greatly benefited the United States and the rest of the world, said Deborah Seligsohn, a former science adviser at the U.S. Embassy in China and an assistant professor of political science at Villanova University.

One of the biggest achievements is research on birth defects, which is listed as one of the 10 greatest achievements of all time on the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website, Seligsohn noted.

A study of 250,000 women and their babies in the mid-1980s found that folic acid supplements prevented spina bifida, a neural tube defect.

“It’s had a huge impact around the world in reducing the incidence of often fatal birth defects. And this research has continued for years after it was started because it’s very well measured the effects of diet and environment on pregnancy and babies, and it’s yielded a lot of information about how to help babies be healthier.” Seligsohn said.

Another example is cooperation in the fight against influenza. According to Seligsohn, the US and China in 2004 signed a bilateral agreement to support China’s efforts to strengthen cooperation with the World Health Organization.

As a result, China has grown from a handful of sentinel monitoring centers to more than 30,000 across the country and developed its laboratory to the level of a WHO coordination center, she said.

“This is critical data that goes into the flu vaccine we get every year. We are all better protected against the flu because of the work the US and China have done together to support WHO’s efforts,” she said.

Bilateral cooperation on clean energy and climate change has produced “positive and tangible results,” and bilateral cooperation is also important to the global response to climate change, said Joanna Lewis, associate professor and director of energy and environment. Program in Science, Technology and International Affairs at Georgetown University.

“A lot of this joint work between the United States and China … has been used to achieve the Paris Agreement and other high-level diplomatic outcomes,” she said, because such a fundamental commitment helped build trust and allowed for “these broader diplomatic achievements.”

But cooperation has been less active in recent years, partly because of growing mistrust, Seligsohn said. “It’s also been affected by US policy, especially the ‘China Initiative’ of former US President Donald Trump’s administration, which has made scientists really worried about cooperation with China,” she said.

The benefits of cooperation to the United States and the world “have been and continue to be enormous, and every effort should be made to maintain such exchanges,” Steven Kivelson and Peter Michelson, both physics professors at Stanford University, wrote in an open letter to President Biden. .

“If the U.S. does not renew it, it is likely to have a significant negative impact on current and future U.S.-China scientific exchanges,” they wrote.

Godfrey Kemp

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