The semiconductor wars: US to announce fresh chip export restrictions to China

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To keep China at bay in the semiconductor competition, the Joe Biden administration is mulling another round of restrictions on the export of US semiconductor technology.

According to sources, the Commerce Department is expected to bring forth a package of rules to categorise which semiconductor technologies can be exported to China. 

Washington is expected to bring the sledgehammer on the export of advanced semiconductors and tools for logic and memory chip production that can be used for supercomputing and artificial intelligence. 

Additionally, the department will look to codify the previous guidance issued to specific companies. 

This is not the first time the US has moved to choke off Chinese firms’ supply of chips. In 2020, former president Donald Trump’s administration banned suppliers from selling chips made using US technology to tech giant Huawei without a special license.

Lately, the Joe Biden government has also given signs regarding such restrictions. As reported by WION, the US officials in early September told NVIDIA to stop exporting two top computing chips for artificial intelligence work to China

The move was aimed at crippling Chinese firms’ ability to carry out advanced work like image recognition and advanced computing. 

Read more: US officials order Nvidia to halt sales of top AI chips to China

Why the restrictions?

For years, the US led the technology battle with China. However, the tips have recently scaled in Beijing’s favour. As reported by WION, according to a study presented by Special Competitive Studies Project (SCSP), US could lose the tech competition to China if it does not take action on the 5G, AI, and microchip core fronts. 

The report added that the tech race would be going through its critical phase in the 2025-2030 period. During this window, Beijing might be able to edge out the USA if the current trend continues. 

Read more: China could pip USA in the tech war by the end of the decade: Report

The “Mid-Decade Challenges to National Competitiveness” report further shed light on the fact that China has been making rapid advancements in the aforementioned core areas. It added that the USA has been playing catch-up on 5G and microelectronics supply chains.

(With inputs from agencies)

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