Apple’s Tim Cook, Disney’s Bob Iger to discuss China with lawmakers
Rep. Mike Gallagher (R-WI) (C), chair of the House Select Committee on the Strategic Competition Between the United States and the Chinese Communist Party, joins Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-NY) (L) and Majority Whip Steve Scalise (R-LA) for a news conference following a GOP caucus meeting at the Republican National Committee offices on Capitol Hill on February 28, 2023 in Washington, DC.
Chip Somodevilla | Getty Images
A group of lawmakers will travel to California to meet with tech and media executives, including Apple CEO Tim Cook and Disney CEO Bob Iger, to discuss China-related topics, CNBC has confirmed.
Nearly a dozen lawmakers representing both parties on the House Select Committee on the Chinese Communist Party are set to make the three-day trip, led by Chair Mike Gallagher, R-Wis., a spokesperson for the committee told CNBC. Bloomberg and Axios previously reported details of the trip.
The trip highlights how the committee’s work could affect the tech and media industries, which have an interest in both the large consumer market and the workforce in China. Just last week, Cook, whose company relies on Chinese labor for phone production, met with the country’s minister of commerce about supply chain issues.
Gallagher has previously said he wants Iger and Big Tech executives to testify before the panel.
The committee sees the trip as an opportunity both to learn from industry leaders on the ground and to share their concerns and vision about business connections to China, according to a source close to the committee who was not authorized to speak on the record to discuss the plans. The committee wants to press businesses to diversify their supply chains enough so that they are not overly reliant on Beijing and to ensure forced labor isn’t employed.
The trip will kick off Wednesday around Hollywood, where lawmakers will meet with Iger and then have dinner with producers, screenwriters and former studio executives. The source described the dinner attendees as a group that’s worked at high levels with the Chinese market that wants to share what they’ve seen in those roles.
On Thursday and Friday, the group will take meetings in Silicon Valley, including a roundtable that will include Microsoft on rare earth minerals, conversations about artificial intelligence and China’s strategy around emerging technologies. One lunch will feature executives from Google, Microsoft, Scale AI and Palantir to discuss what the source described as “defensive and offensive approaches to strategic competition.”
A dinner in Silicon Valley will feature officials from about a dozen venture capital firms including Andreesen Horowitz, Khosla Ventures and SV Angel, the source said.
Besides Cook and Iger, members of the group are expected to meet with Microsoft President Brad Smith and Kent Walker, Alphabet‘s president of global affairs and chief legal officer.
The full roster of select committee members who will be in attendance is not yet clear, but a House aide confirmed to CNBC that Rep. Ro Khanna, a Democrat who represents Silicon Valley, will be among them.
Companies named in this report either did not immediately respond or did not provide a comment.
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