Latest bid to target China's high-tech sector

2023-07-06 08:17:03China Daily Editor : Li Yan ECNS App Download

The Joe Biden administration is preparing to restrict Chinese companies' access to U.S. cloud-computing services, the Wall Street Journal reported on Tuesday, citing people familiar with the situation.

The new rule, if adopted, would likely require U.S. cloud-service providers such as Amazon and Microsoft to seek U.S. government permission before they provide cloud-computing services that use advanced artificial-intelligence chips to Chinese customers, the newspaper said.

As the Biden administration has imposed strict restrictions on the exports of these advanced chips to Chinese entities, the cloud-computing services are viewed as a "loophole" in the restrictive measures targeting China through which the Chinese companies can still enjoy the services that use these chips without buying them.

The rule, which is likely to be published by the U.S. Department of Commerce soon according to the WSJ, will perceivably further strain the already tense Sino-U.S. relations that were thought to have been eased to some extent by U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken's visit to Beijing last month.

Although Washington is expected to continue to justify it as a necessary measure in its "competition" with China, Beijing will regard the move as breaching international trade rules and disrupting global industry and supply chains.

The five largest cloud-computing service providers in China are Alibaba, Tencent, Huawei, China Telecom and Amazon. Since Amazon only accounts for about 8.6 percent of the cloud-computing services market of the Chinese mainland, the impacts of the new rule on the Chinese market will not be that obvious. Despite this, the move means that the U.S. will not mend fences with China until all the "loopholes" that Chinese companies can use to tap into the advanced technologies of the U.S. can be plugged.

In other words, although Washington has replaced "decoupling" with "de-risking" in its China policy rhetoric, what it is doing clearly shows that "decoupling" is nothing but the means to realize "de-risking". The U.S.' interests always come prior to the rules and laws that Washington claims to follow.


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