WASHINGTON : U.S. Republican senators are urging the Biden administration to shut a “loophole” in export controls imposed by former President Donald Trump on China’s prime chipmaker, SMIC, which they name a “clear national security threat.”
In a letter to Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo and seen by Reuters, Tom Cotton and Bill Hagerty stated they had been “disheartened” by media stories suggesting the company was blocking efforts to tighten export controls on U.S. know-how destined for SMIC, which they are saying enjoys shut ties to the Chinese army.
Tightening the controls “would close an important loophole and prevent the [Chinese Communist Party] and [the People’s liberation Army] from using U.S. technology to advance its military modernization programs,” the senators stated in a letter dated Jan. 31, asking whether or not Raimondo helps added restrictions.
The Commerce Department and Semiconductor Manufacturing International Corp (SMIC) didn’t instantly reply to requests for remark.
The Trump administration positioned SMIC on the U.S. Department of Commerce’s commerce blacklist in late 2020 over considerations that SMIC aids China’s army.
Normally, U.S. suppliers are required to apply for a particular license – which faces a tricky normal of overview – earlier than delivery any U.S. gadgets to an organization on the blacklist.
However, when the Trump administration added SMIC to the record, it solely utilized that robust normal of overview to extremely specialised chipmaking tools destined for the Chinese agency, granting a “case by case” overview course of for different U.S. gadgets.
In observe, that has meant license purposes have gotten tied up in prolonged overview processes https://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-china-smic-exclusive/exclusive-amid-shortage-u-s-suppliers-to-chinese-chip-giant-smic-struggle-to-get-export-licenses-idUSKBN2AW18B as policymakers debate whether or not to approve them. It has additionally angered some China hawks, after paperwork confirmed suppliers to SMIC obtained billions’ price in licenses https://www.reuters.com/article/usa-china-huawei-tech-idCNL1N2RH2AC.
Reuters reported in December that the Biden administration has not determined https://www.reuters.com/article/usa-china-smic-idCNL1N2T203P whether or not to block extra gross sales of U.S. chipmaking tools to SMIC, however raised the opportunity of discussing it additional with allies.
(Reporting by Alexandra Alper. Editing by Gerry Doyle)