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China Warns US Chip Tech Export Curbs Will ‘Backfire’

The Biden administration has brought in new export controls, including cutting China off from certain semiconductor chips made with US tools

Illustration picture of semiconductor chips on a circuit board
An Illustration picture of semiconductor chips on a circuit board.


China has slammed a raft of new US export controls targeting Chinese chip manufacturers as an abuse of trade.

China’s foreign ministry spokesperson Mao Ning said on Saturday that the curbs, which include a measure to cut China off from certain semiconductor chips made anywhere in the world with US equipment, will only harm the US.

“The United States will only hurt and isolate itself when its actions backfire,” Mao said at a regular briefing.

The Biden administration on Friday published a sweeping set of export controls, vastly expanding its reach in its bid to slow Beijing’s technological and military advances.


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The rules, some of which go into effect immediately, build on restrictions sent in letters earlier this year to top toolmakers KLA Corp, Lam Research Corp and Applied Materials Inc, effectively requiring them to halt shipments of equipment to wholly Chinese-owned factories producing advanced logic chips.

The raft of measures could amount to the biggest shift in US policy toward shipping technology to China since the 1990s. If effective, they could set China’s chip manufacturing industry back years by forcing American and foreign companies that use US technology to cut off support for some of China’s leading factories and chip designers.

In a briefing with reporters on Thursday previewing the rules, senior government officials said many of the rules sought to prevent foreign firms from selling advanced chips to China or supplying Chinese firms with tools to make their own advanced chips. 

They conceded, however, that they have not yet secured any promises that allied nations will implement similar measures and that discussions with those nations are ongoing.

“We recognise that the unilateral controls we’re putting into place will lose effectiveness over time if other countries don’t join us,” one official said. “And we risk harming US technology leadership if foreign competitors are not subject to similar controls.”


US Adds YMTC to Blacklist

Earlier on Friday, the United States added China’s top memory chip maker YMTC and 30 other Chinese entities to a list of companies that US officials cannot inspect, ratcheting up tensions with Beijing and taking aim at a firm that has long troubled the Biden administration.

The “unverified list” is a potential stepping stone to tougher economic blacklists, but companies that comply with US inspection rules can come off the list. On Friday, US officials removed nine such firms, including China’s Wuxi Biologics, which makes ingredients for AstraZeneca’s Covid-19 vaccine.

The new regulations will also severely restrict export of US equipment to Chinese memory chip makers and formalise letters sent to Nvidia Corp and Advanced Micro Devices Inc restricting shipments to China of chips used in supercomputing systems that nations around the world rely on to develop nuclear weapons and other military technologies.


  • Reuters with additional editing by Sean O’Meara


Read more:

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US Orders Nvidia to Stop Sale of Advanced Chips to China



Sean O'Meara

Sean O'Meara is an Editor at Asia Financial. He has been a newspaper man for more than 30 years, working at local, regional and national titles in the UK as a writer, sub-editor, page designer and print editor. A football, cricket and rugby fan, he has a particular interest in sports finance.


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