U.S. slaps restrictions on Chinese chipmaker and other companies over national security worries

Politics

Military vehicles carrying DF-5B intercontinental ballistic missiles participate in a military parade at Tiananmen Square in Beijing on October 1, 2019, to mark the 70th anniversary of the founding of the Peoples Republic of China.
Greg Baker | AFP | Getty Images

The Biden administration said Thursday it was “severely” restricting dozens of mostly Chinese organizations, including at least one chipmaker, over their efforts to use advanced technologies to help modernize China’s military.

The 36 entities will face “stringent license requirements” that hamper their access to certain U.S.-produced commodities, software, and technologies — including artificial intelligence and advanced computing, the Commerce Department’s Bureau of Industry and Security said in a press release.

The Bureau’s latest action comes more than two months after the Biden administration imposed new curbs on China’s access to advanced semiconductors.

The new designations also take aim at Russia-linked entities supporting that country’s military invasion of Ukraine, the agency said.

The actions will protect U.S. national security by squelching Beijing’s ability to “leverage artificial intelligence, advanced computing, and other powerful, commercially available technologies for military modernization and human rights abuses,” Alan Estevez, undersecretary of Commerce for Industry and Security, said in the press release.

“This work will continue, as will our efforts to detect and disrupt Russia’s efforts to obtain necessary items and technologies and other items for its brutal war against Ukraine, including from Iran,” Estevez said.

One of the companies added to the so-called entity list was Yangtze Memory Technologies Corporation, or YMTC, a key Chinese chipmaker that had previously been added to the U.S. Unverified List, another trade-restricting designation.

“I’ve long sounded the alarm on the grave national security and economic threats behind YMTC and other CCP-backed technology companies, like CXMT and SMIC,” Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., said in a statement Thursday morning.

“YMTC poses an immediate threat to our national security, so the Biden Administration needed to act swiftly to prevent YMTC from gaining even an inch of a military or economic advantage,” Schumer said.

Thursday’s press release specified that 30 of the groups were being added to the entity list for activities related to their efforts to obtain U.S. materials in order to bolster China’s military modernization. Four more were added due to “their significant risk of becoming involved in activities that could have a negative impact” on U.S. national security of foreign policy, according to the release.

Another entity was added for its alleged involvement in China’s human rights abuses against Uyghurs and other Muslim groups in Xinjiang, as well as for allegedly helping Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps obtain U.S. items.

The Biden administration also said it would lift some restrictions on a net total of 25 Chinese entities that successfully complied with U.S. checks to verify that its exported goods were being used in the way the entities claimed.

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