US restricts exports to China’s top chipmaker

Updated  September 28, 2020
In this file photo, a security officer stands outside a building of Semiconductor Manufacturing International Corporation (SMIC) during its grand opening in Shanghai.
In this file photo, a security officer stands outside a building of Semiconductor Manufacturing International Corporation (SMIC) during its grand opening in Shanghai.

“SMIC reiterates that it manufactures semiconductors and provides services solely for civilian and commercial end-users and end-uses,” SMIC said.

“The Company has no relationship with the Chinese military and does not manufacture for any military end-users or end-uses.” SMIC is the latest leading Chinese technology company to face US trade restrictions related to national security issues or US foreign policy efforts.

Telecoms giant Huawei Technologies had its access to high-end chips curtailed by its addition to a Commerce Department blacklist known as the entity list.

SMIC’s new designation is not as severe as being blacklisted, which makes it difficult to get any export license approved.

The Pentagon earlier this month, Reuters was first to report, said it was working with other agencies to determine whether to blacklist SMIC for its purported links to the Chinese military.

US companies including Lam Research, KLA Corp and Applied Materials, which supply chipmaking equipment, may now need to get licenses to ship certain goods to SMIC.

It is unclear which suppliers received the letter, but typically once the Commerce Department comes to the conclusion that there is a risk of military use or diversion, it sends that information to the companies.

The Commerce Department’s Bureau of Industry and Security declined on Saturday to comment specifically on SMIC, but said it was “constantly monitoring and assessing any potential threats to US national security and foreign policy interests”.

The administration has increasingly trained its focus on Chinese companies that bolster Beijing’s military. Last month, the United States blacklisted 24 Chinese companies and targeted people it said were part of construction and military actions in the South China Sea, its first such sanctions against Beijing over the disputed strategic waterway.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *