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US bans exports to Chinese semiconductor, drone makers

THE Trump administration has added prominent Chinese semiconductor and drone manufacturers to an export blacklist, citing security concerns, reports the Washington Post

23 December 2020 - 19:00
THE Trump administration has added prominent Chinese semiconductor and drone manufacturers to an export blacklist, citing security concerns, reports the Washington Post.

The US Commerce Department said it has placed Semiconductor Manufacturing International Corp, or SMIC; drone maker DJI; and dozens of other Chinese companies and universities on the Entity List, which bans the export of American technology to the entities unless the exporter receives a government licence.



The ban applies only to those technologies that are 'uniquely' capable of producing semiconductors at 10 nanometers in size or below. Because nearly all semiconductor manufacturing tools are capable of making nanometers of different sizes, only a tiny fraction will effectively be barred, said one industry executive speaking on condition of anonymity because of the matter's sensitivity.



Texas Republican Congressman Michael McCaul, foreign affairs committee ranking member, said the rules 'may be more bark than bite'.



Said an industry executive: 'They may as well have done nothing because nothing's restricted. You have to ask yourself why did they even bother?'



The sanction follows 'evidence of activities between SMIC and entities of concern in the Chinese military industrial complex,' the department said in a statement.



'We will not allow advanced US technology to help build the military of an increasingly belligerent adversary,' Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said of SMIC in a statement.



'Between SMIC's relationships of concern with the military industrial complex, China's aggressive application of military civil fusion mandates and state-directed subsidies, SMIC perfectly illustrates the risks of China's leverage of U.S. technology to support its military modernisation.'


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