US could sanction Chinese semiconductor firms linked to Huawei

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The Biden administration is now looking forward to imposing further trade sanctions on four Chinese companies associated with Huawei’s semiconductor manufacturing. This move comes in response to Huawei’s recent technological breakthrough and aims to further restrict Beijing’s artificial intelligence and semiconductor ambitions. The potential trade sanction underscores escalating tensions between the US and China and represents US efforts to curb Huawei’s influence in the global tech industry.

If implemented, this measure would mark another notable escalation in the ongoing campaign to constrain China’s semiconductor capabilities. The decision would increase pressure on Huawei, a key player in China’s technological advancement, which has somehow managed to make strides despite existing sanctions. Notably, Huawei achieved a significant milestone by producing a smartphone processor last year that many in Washington deemed beyond its capabilities.

This time the target is Chinese companies that might be helping Huawei in its chip manufacturing

The companies targeted for potential sanction include chipmakers Qingdao Si’En, SwaySure, and Shenzhen Pensun Technology Co., along with China’s leading memory chipmaker, ChangXin Memory Technologies Inc. These entities were previously identified as chipmaking facilities associated with Huawei. Additionally, the US government may sanction companies like Shenzhen Pengjin High-Tech Co. and SiCarrier, suspected of aiding Huawei in obtaining restricted equipment.

Furthermore, US officials are urging allies, including the Netherlands, Germany, South Korea, and Japan, to tighten trade sanctions and impose further restrictions on Huawei’s access to technologies and equipment related to chip manufacturing.

However, it remains unclear whether the US Department of Commerce has sufficient evidence linking these companies to Huawei. Despite this, the US has the authority to sanction businesses deemed a potential threat to “national security”, without needing to prove past harmful or illegal activity.

The potential ban is influenced by various factors, including the status of US-China relations and ongoing policy considerations. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen’s upcoming visit to China and discussions between President Joe Biden and Chinese leader Xi Jinping will likely impact the timing of the decision. Additionally, discussions about adjustments to China tariffs and potential tariff increases on older-generation chips further complicate the situation.

Huawei Mate 60 series’ 7nm chip suggests China’s progress in / access to the required technologies

Huawei’s addition to the entity list in 2019 significantly restricted its access to American technology. However, Huawei’s recent unveiling of the Huawei Mate 60 series powered by a domestically produced 7-nanometer chip suggests China’s progress in semiconductor manufacturing. Despite this, China still heavily relies on foreign technology. It highlights the challenges for Huawei to achieve self-sufficiency.

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