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U.S. will ‘do whatever it takes’ to curb China’s access to cutting edge chips and might tighten controls, Commerce Secretary Raimondo says



The US could further tighten controls on China’s access to sophisticated semiconductor technologies, Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo said, signaling Washington may intensify its campaign to prevent Beijing catching up in military capabilities.

“We cannot allow China to have access for their military advancement to our most sophisticated technology,” she told reporters in Manila on Monday. “So yes, we will do whatever it takes to protect our people including expanding our controls.”

Raimondo, who is leading a trade delegation to the Philippines and Thailand, was asked if the US is planning to add new restrictions on the sale of semiconductors to China. The Biden administration is mulling fresh sanctions on several Chinese tech companies, including memory chipmaker ChangXin Memory Technologies Inc., while pushing allies to do more to curb the export of advanced tech to China, Bloomberg has reported in recent days.

Washington has taken aim at China’s chip industry for years, imposing sweeping controls on the export of advanced semiconductor-making machines and sophisticated chips like those used to develop artificial intelligence. Japan and the Netherlands, the two key countries where chip-making equipment is developed, joined the US effort last year.

But holes still remain, particularly in the ability of Japanese and Dutch engineers to continue doing some equipment repairs, and in the flow of spare parts that are used in semiconductor manufacturing equipment. The US government is pressing allies including the Netherlands, Germany, South Korea and Japan to further tighten restrictions, Bloomberg reported last week.

Meanwhile, the US Commerce Department’s Bureau of Industry and Security is considering adding ChangXin to its so-called Entity List, which restricts companies’ access to US technology, people familiar with the matter have said. The bureau is also considering restricting five other Chinese firms, the people said.

The US is constantly assessing if it’s doing enough to ensure that China can’t use American chip and AI technologies for its military, said Raimondo, whose department is responsible for implementing trade sanctions. There’s nothing to announce for now regarding specific new restrictions, she added.

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