The US is rapidly ramping up efforts to try to hobble China’s progress in the semiconductor industry – vital for everything from smartphones to weapons of war.In October, Washington announced some of the broadest export controls yet – requiring licences for companies exporting chips to China using US tools or software, no matter where they’re made in the world.Washington’s measures also prevent US citizens and green card holders from working for certain Chinese chip companies. Green card holders are US permanent residents who have the right to work in the country.It is cutting off a key pipeline of American talent to China which will affect the development of high-end semiconductors.Why is the US doing this?Advanced chips are used to power supercomputers, artificial intelligence and military hardware.Countries in Asia that produce chips – such as Taiwan, Singapore and South Korea – have raised concerns about how this bitter battle is affecting the global supply chain.And there were three significant developments in the chip conflict over the past week.More Chinese firms on ‘entity list’The Biden administration has added 36 more Chinese companies, including major chipmaker YMTC to Washington’s “entity list”.China complains to WTOChina has filed a complaint against the US with the World Trade Organization (WTO) over its export controls on semiconductors and other related technology.The complaint specifies that the US has imposed restrictions on the export of approximately 2,800 Chinese goods, but only 1,800 of these were allowed under international trade rules.”I’m not going to get ahead of any announcements,” Mr Sullivan told reporters. “I will just say that we are very pleased with the candour, the substance and the intensity of the discussions.”The US controls do not only target chipmakers. They also affect manufacturers of chip making equipment.Mr Wennink said that the Dutch government, in response to US pressure, had already stopped ASML from selling its most advanced lithography machines to China since 2019.The US has already significantly isolated China’s chip industry, even though the latest measures are not as sweeping as those announced in October.
This article was originally published by BBC.