Lena Khan, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) commissioner nominee for US President Joe Biden, speaks during the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee’s confirmation hearing in Washington, D.C., US, on Wednesday, April 21, 2021.

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Federal Trade Commission Chair Lena Khan said on CNBC’s “Squawk Box” Wednesday that antitrust enforcement, rather than its absence, could put the United States in a better position to stay ahead of China in the race to build the latest technology.

The tech industry often points to China’s threat to catch up with US technologies as an argument against a more aggressive implementation against it. For example, after the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) proposed the ban meta Of monetizing children’s data for allegedly violating a previous privacy agreement, Meta spokesperson Andy Stone tweeted in part that it was an example of the FTC trying to “identify one US company while allowing Chinese companies, like Tik Tok, to operate without restrictions on US soil.” The FTC also has a applicable privacy agreement from 2019 with TikTok over alleged violations.

Khan said on Wednesday that the lessons of the past suggest that tougher enforcement at home would actually benefit the United States on the international stage.

“What history and experience have shown us is the best position for the United States to compete internationally, to stay ahead of the curve internationally, is to make sure we’re home to innovation,” Khan said in an interview with CNBC’s Andrew Ross Sorkin. “And the best thing that produces breakthrough innovations, cutting-edge technologies, is competition. I think we’ve seen over and over again monopolies and incumbents arguing that they need to maintain their monopoly to make sure the United States stays ahead. But historically the United States has instead imposed competition laws, imposed Antitrust is what led us to be home to the latest technology.”

Khan gave the example of two landmark technical antitrust cases in the last century, namely ibm And AT&T. In the case of AT&T, Khan noted, the government’s requirement that the telecom company open “the patent vault … has led to decades and decades of innovation.”

“I think we’ve seen Silicon Valley emerge in the wake of tough competition and antitrust enforcement,” Khan added. “And so I think we need to be very wary of arguments that it is really a monopoly that will best position us to prosper internationally when we see over and over again just the opposite.”

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