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Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo at Semafor. Daniel Merritt, Gonzaga University, Intern.

Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo spoke at the Semafor World Economy Summit 2024 on the role of her institution going forward. Secretary Raimondo spoke highly of Biden’s economic policy, specifically citing the Chips Act capacity to empower her Department to make significant progress in  semiconductors. According to the Secretary, "America currently manufactures zero percent of leading-edge chips." Raimondo envisions twenty percent of all chips being made on American soil by 2030. She further emphasized localizing the chip ecosystem, claiming that ‘technological security is economic security, and economic security is national security’. 

       Raimondo makes clear that her advocacy for bolstering domestic semiconductor production does not connote an inclination toward economic isolationism. On the contrary, she underscored the need for continued engagement with international trade partners, including China, while cautioning against overreliance on foreign technology. Her remarks reflect a pragmatic approach to the complexities of global economic interdependence while navigating a path to safeguarding national interests in an era of heightened technological competition and strategic rivalry.

       Her main contention is that progress and security are two sides of the same coin. Historically, America is impatient; if policymakers fail to make clear strides towards a goal, they are generally deemed ineffective. As someone who will be participating in the formal workforce soon, Raimondo’s thinking is truly refreshing. The fear of inheriting a self destructing economy is more intense in younger generations than most older people care to recognize. Pointing out the steps that America is taking to maintain technological autonomy is a relief to those of us who fear what their professional careers will look like in a decade. Furthermore, Secretary Raimondo linking technological security and national security alludes to the need for greater administrative restrictions on the production and operation of modern digital software tools, like AI. While not mentioned by Raimondo, comments expressing both fear and excitement were made by other speakers. Raimondo’s mature perspective levens dramatic assumptions about rapidly evolving technology and, once again, provides relief for listeners who fear the consequences of a changing society.

       Raimondo's address elucidates a framework for advancing America's economic and technological interests within a global context characterized by heightened competition and chronic uncertainty. Her advocacy for strategic semiconductor production investments reflects a generationally conscious response to evolving geopolitical dynamics, where technological capability assumes heightened significance in fostering national security and economic resilience.

Editor: William Michael Cunningham

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