US Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo warned Chinese companies that the US will “absolutely” enforce export controls if they sell semiconductors made with US technology to Russia.
Raimondo went on to say the resulting export controls would “essentially shut them down”.
Raimondo said all Chinese semiconductor companies rely on US software to make chips, which makes them subject to export controls.
“If we find that they are selling chips to Russia, then we can essentially shut them down by denying them use of that software, and we’re absolutely prepared to do that,” she said.
President Joe Biden plans to announce a fresh package of sanctions on Russian political figures and oligarchs during emergency talks this week in Brussels with European and NATO leaders, national security adviser Jake Sullivan said on Wednesday.
The US is particularly concerned about China’s relationship with Russia, its failure to condemn the invasion, and US reports that Beijing is willing to provide military assistance to Moscow – all issues on the agenda during Biden’s meetings.
Beijing has described the sanctions imposed on Russia as increasingly outrageous, although it has also expressed concern about the war.
Raimondo said the US is monitoring for possible violations of its sweeping export controls on Russia “hour by hour, minute by minute,” and would crack down on any violations by any country as they occurred.
Asked whether Chinese firms were violating the controls so far, Raimondo said no, but noted that Commerce does not disclose investigations or enforcement actions before they are finalised.
The commerce secretary said Washington expected China to comply because the consequences would be severe and could hit any company, including Chinese semiconductor maker Semiconductor Manufacturing International Corp (SMIC).
“I’m not walking that back. I’m very consistent and clear,” Raimondo said.
- Reuters, with editing by Neal McGrath