International trade tensions are heating up amid United States President Donald Trump's new tariffs and other attacks on trade with China, but NVIDIA founder and CEO Jensen Huang insists that the looming trade war that serves as the logical conclusion of such moves would be devastating to all involved. Many of the tariffs focus on the tech sector, a section of the market where the US relies on China extensively for components, assembly, and related labor. While the ethical and financial implications of outsourcing and the heavy import and export culture surrounding the US tech scene are another discussion entirely, Huang makes at least one point that is certainly valid; Trump's new standards would spark a sudden downturn in relations between the economies of China and the US, and such an event, especially happening with barely any time to transition, is set to cause widespread shortages of both materials and labor in the tech sector of both countries.
Huang's sweeping statements may cover the entire industry, but he is speaking from a place of having a genuine stake in this conflict. NVIDIA is headquartered in California, but its operations in China amount to a few thousand employees and a large number of supply partners. Overall, NVIDIA also conducts about one-third of its normal sales business with clients in China. Its GPUs are commonly sold within integrated solutions like workstations, server stacks, and specialized computing units. With such a large company, it's not hard to imagine the impact that a slowing or total stoppage of international trade would cause. China would lose out on one of its biggest suppliers of high-end, ready-to-use computing equipment in at least some measure, and NVIDIA would lose a massive chunk of its business. The employees it has over there would likely be out of a job.
United States Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer is in charge of coming up with the list of specific product types that will see a tariff, but he has previously been cited as emphasizing the importance of international interactions in the tech sector. Huang says, on a related note, that it's impossible at this point for almost any complex product, especially in tech, to hail only from a single country, and that collaboration is the only feasible way forward.