By Governor Susana Martinez and Brad Smith

We are in the midst of a generative artificial intelligence (AI) revolution, with this technology poised to add up to $4.4 trillion to the global economy annually, according to McKinsey. But the race to lead in AI is about more than economic gain; it’s about which country’s values will shape our future, influencing freedom and openness versus control and surveillance.

Over the last three decades, America has led the global tech revolution, driven by values like free expression and entrepreneurship. These values have not only propelled American companies to the forefront but have also spread democratic principles worldwide. As American-made technology crosses borders, it carries with it the potential to enhance global freedom and democracy, making it crucial for America to maintain its technology leadership, especially in the AI landscape.

But America’s technology leadership is under siege.

China launched a $1.4 trillion plan to take America’s place as the innovation leader, investing heavily in the technologies of tomorrow, such as AI. Those investments are paying off. One Australian study found that China leads the United States in 37 of 44 strategic technologies tracked in a year-long project that examined 2.2 million data points. A Harvard University report found that China is well ahead of the United States in high-tech manufacturing and 5G, and could soon beat the United States in quantum computing. Similarly, a study from The National Security Commission on Artificial Intelligence found that China is poised to overtake the United States as the world leader in AI by 2030. These trends are alarming, and U.S. leaders must be intentional in how we address them.

In addition, leading American tech companies are now being forced to change their products in response to Europe’s Digital Markets Act (DMA), even though these changes may erode people’s experiences online and are nakedly aimed at propping up the struggling European tech sector. European policymakers prioritize regulation over innovation, hindering their companies’ success. Studies show that their privacy law has made it harder for startups to secure venture capital funding.

Worse, some of the restrictions aimed at the American tech sector are friendly fire. In Washington, some restrictions proposed by lawmakers and federal agencies risk harming leading American tech companies, complicating access to popular services such as widely used search engines, or expedited shipping services. While U.S. home-grown innovators in generative AI have rapidly emerged as global leaders in this field, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) under Chair Lina Khan has used its limited, taxpayer-funded resources to investigate them.

At a time when the race for technology leadership between the United States and China has never been more important or more intense, Washington is creating headwinds that threaten to undermine the advancement of both American technology and American values. For example, a new study from the Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI) found “the FTC’s newly aggressive antitrust enforcement toward tech companies threatens the U.S. advantage in AI development and undermines the U.S. economy.”