China flays new U.S. curbs on chip exports

2023-10-19 China Daily Editor:Li Yan

China expressed strong dissatisfaction over, and opposition to, the latest U.S. chip export control measures, with officials and experts saying on Wednesday that such curbs would further disrupt the global semiconductor industry chain and harm the interests of multinational corporations in the industry.

On Tuesday, the U.S. government intensified restrictions on chip exports to China, a move that the U.S. semiconductor industry has been strongly lobbying against due to fears of market uncertainty.

The Semiconductor Industry Association, which represents 99 percent of the U.S. semiconductor industry by revenue, criticized the rules in a statement on the same day.

"Overly broad, unilateral controls risk harming the U.S. semiconductor ecosystem without advancing national security as they encourage overseas customers to look elsewhere," the group said.

A spokesperson of China's Ministry of Commerce said on Wednesday the United States constantly overstretches the concept of national security, abuses export control measures and resorts to unilateral bullying acts, which China is strongly dissatisfied with and firmly objects to.

The U.S. should remove its controls on semiconductor exports to China without delay and create a fair, just and predictable business environment for enterprises of all countries, including Chinese enterprises, the spokesperson said.

Washington's latest rules are an update to the export controls imposed by the U.S. Commerce Department a year ago to stop China from acquiring advanced computer chips and related equipment to manufacture them.

Tuesday's rules broaden the controls by including slightly less powerful chips than those covered under the previous rules and expand the previous list of manufacturing equipment.

The U.S. Commerce Department included more Chinese chip companies, including Beijing Biren Technology Development Co Ltd and Moore Thread Intelligent Technology (Beijing) Co Ltd, on a trade blacklist.

Biren said in a statement it strongly opposes the move and will actively appeal to relevant U.S. government departments. It urged the U.S. government to reexamine the move. Moore Thread also said in a statement it strongly opposes the decision, and is actively communicating with all the parties concerned and evaluating the impact of the move.

Bai Ming, deputy director of international market research at the Chinese Academy of International Trade and Economic Cooperation, said despite Washington's shift in rhetoric from "decoupling" to "de-risking" in key supply chains, the U.S. government continues to tighten its controls over chip exports to China.

The U.S. has already adopted a string of measures to contain Chinese technology companies. Apart from levying additional tariffs on a large number of Chinese products, it has included many Chinese market entities on its export control list, and imposed sanctions on Chinese enterprises.

Such moves, in fact, run against the interests of the U.S. semiconductor enterprises that have suffered huge losses; meanwhile, semiconductor enterprises in other countries have also been affected, Bai said.

The new rules on Tuesday came even as U.S. chip companies and their trade group continue to push the U.S. government to "refrain from further restrictions". In July, media reports had said the U.S. administration was considering tightening export controls on China.

The CEOs of major U.S. chip companies such as Nvidia, Qualcomm and Intel visited Washington in July to voice their concerns over the export controls, as China is not just the world's largest chip market but also a key link in U.S. chip companies' supply chains.

Following Tuesday's announcement of the new rules, shares of leading chip companies such as Nvidia, Advanced Micro Devices and Intel all declined.

Dutch chip manufacturing equipment provider ASML Holding NV said the latest U.S. regulations will be applicable to a limited number of factories on the Chinese mainland engaged in advanced semiconductor manufacturing.

"These export control measures will likely have an impact on the regional split of our systems sales in the medium to long term," ASML said.

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