An influential US lawmaker said on Wednesday the Commerce Department should end all technology exports to Huawei and SMIC, China’s top manufacturer of semiconductors.
Republican Mike Gallagher – chair of the House of Representatives’ committee on China, which has pressed the Biden administration to take a tougher stance on US technology sent to China – urged harsher curbs after the discovery of new chips in Huawei phones that may violate trade restrictions.
The comments from Gallagher follow news that Chinese electronics giant Huawei started selling a phone last week called the Mate 60 Pro, which contains a chip that analysts believe was made after a breakthrough by Semiconductor International Manufacturing Corp (SMIC).
“This chip likely could not be produced without US technology and thus SMIC may have violated the Department of Commerce’s Foreign Direct Product Rule,” Gallagher said in a statement.
“The time has come to end all US technology exports to both Huawei and SMIC to make clear any firm that flouts US law and undermines our national security will be cut off from our technology.”
Huawei was placed on a trade blacklist in May 2019 over national security concerns, forcing its US suppliers and others to obtain a special licence to ship goods to it. SMIC was added to the so-called entity list in December 2020, over fears it could divert advanced technology to military users.
The trade restrictions imposed on Huawei and SMIC include the Foreign Direct Product Rule meant to bar any company anywhere in the world from using tools from the United States to manufacture a chip for Huawei.
But suppliers to Huawei and SMIC have received billions of dollars’ worth of licences to sell US technology to the companies despite their being on the trade lists. About 90% of the licences were for sales to SMIC.
The US Commerce Department’s bureau overseeing export controls did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
- Reuters with additional editing by Jim Pollard