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White House Measures on Russia Could Include Huawei-Style Ban

Chip industry seeks clarity about measures, including financial sanctions and export restrictions similar to those for Iran and North Korea


A man uses his smartphone next to a Xiaomi store in Kyiv, Ukraine. Photo: Reuters

 

The White House has told the US semiconductor industry to be prepared for new restrictions on exports to Russia if Moscow attacks Ukraine, sources said, including potentially using a ‘Huawei ban’ to block Moscow’s access to global electronic supplies.

The warning followed inquiries by the industry after reports by Reuters and The New York Times on potential curbs.

National Security Council (NSC) officials Peter Harrell and Tarun Chhabra told executives from the Semiconductor Industry Association (SIA), a chip lobbying group, to be ready for unprecedented actions against Russia if it invades Ukraine.

The SIA had sought clarity about the probability of a range of measures indicated by the White House, including financial sanctions and broadening export restrictions to Russia so they are like those for Iran and North Korea.

It also inquired about whether a 2020 rule that vastly expanded the government’s powers to block shipments of foreign made goods to China’s Huawei could be applied to Russia.

“The NSC relayed in blunt and stark terms the gravity of the situation they are currently grappling with in Ukraine, noting that this is an extraordinary situation and potentially the worst cross-border invasion to take place since WWII,” an SIA director wrote in an email to members.

“The NSC indicated that the administration is actively considering any and all options,” the director added.

 

  • Reuters with additional editing by George Russell

 

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George Russell

George Russell is a freelance writer and editor based in Hong Kong who has lived in Asia since 1996. His work has been published in the Financial Times, The Wall Street Journal, Bloomberg, New York Post, Variety, Forbes and the South China Morning Post.

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