Just before the Thanksgiving holiday here in the United States, our Senior Vice President of Government Relations, Steve MacLaird, arranged for the two of us to participate in a key meeting of the US-China Joint Commission on Commerce and Trade (JCCT). Located in a spectacularly lovely library hidden away in the northwestern corner of the main United States Department of Commerce building in Washington, DC, the meeting brought together key figures in US-China trade (including the Vice Premier of the People's Republic of China, the Secretary of Commerce of the United States, and the United States Trade Representative) to discuss the value of standards for the Industrial Internet.
The timing of this event couldn’t have been more fortuitous. Just three weeks ago, the Industrial Internet Consortium® (IIC) signed a cooperative agreement with the China Academy of Information and Communications Technology (CAICT). CAICT and China Electronics Standards Institute (CESI) representatives attended, both well aware of Object Management Group® (OMG®) and IIC, and there was intense interest in both OMG IIoT standardization and IIC testbeds.
As a presenter on the “The Role of Standards in Shaping the Digital Economy” panel, I discussed standards, the value of Industrial Internet testbeds and the nexus among standards, the evolving digital economy and the areas where standards are central to harnessing the benefits of the digital economy. Song Jiwei, from the China Electronics Standardization Institute explained how standards work in China. The process involves a combination of technology and industry standards with a focus on intelligent manufacturers. Chen Wei, Vice President of Nuctech Company Limited, echoed my comments that we want world standards, versus using regional unique terms/words in the United States, China and elsewhere.
Other presentations highlighted the importance and opportunities for collaboration among stakeholders to ensure that the development of standards facilitates prompt and effective commercial deployment of relevant technologies. United States Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker and the U.S. Ambassador for Trade Michael Froman (below left) emphasized the importance of cooperation and transparency of data information flow that has to be balanced with the needs of national security and free trade. Collaboration across borders, both in technological development and application will accelerate IoT technology applications and accompanying growth. Given China’s and the United States’ positions as the world’s leading markets, such collaboration is of heightened importance between the two countries. The Secretary challenged the group to work towards those goals. Ambassador Froman stated what needed to be determined was what role government plays in the IoT, IIoT and standards.
Chinese Premier Wang Yang (right) explained that 10+ years ago, China was not industrialized; but now it is the 2nd largest economy in the world, after that of the US. China wants an open market economy but has to address national interests just as the US does. He stated that like the Internet, cooperation is a set of ones (1) and zeros (0). Mutual Trust is a “1” and Cooperation is a “0”. Without mutual trust, there is no cooperation and zero will be accomplished.
Vice Minister Liu closed the session with the observation that standards should not restrict innovation. China is a major player, but the US is a powerhouse in the digital economy. China is growing in capability–US is #1, China is #2 in the world economy , so both countries need to learn how to cooperate and succeed. China’s desire is cooperation, not friction.
I'll be back online after the OMG and IIC quarterly meetings (Dec. 5-9th) for more travel updates.