The U.S. Commerce Department is restricting American firms from exporting parts to a Chinese DRAM producer that develops semiconductors.
The limits announced Monday reflected official concern Chinese competition might drive some American technology suppliers out of business and leave the United States without sources of components needed by the military.
The United States, Europe and other trading partners say Beijing's tactics violate its market-opening obligations. Negotiations have reportedly stalled ahead of a planned meeting between U.S. and Chinese Presidents Donald Trump and Xi Jinping on the sidelines of the upcoming G20 summit in Argentina. American officials worry they might erode USA industrial leadership.
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The company, Fujian Jinhua Integrated Circuit, a manufacturer of semiconductors, "poses a significant risk" of becoming involved in activities that might infringe on national security, the Commerce Department said.
The restriction is similar to the Commerce Department's move that almost put Chinese telecommunication equipment company ZTE Corp out of business earlier this year, . after it was cut off from US suppliers.
Derek Scissors, a China expert at the American Enterprise Institute, said the company was one of the country's potential national champions and is in a dispute with its main competitor, USA chipmaker Micron Technology Inc.
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U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said the U.S. believes the Chinese firm's new plant was likely the beneficiary of "U.S. -origin technology" and its additional production would threaten the long-term viability of U.S. chipmakers.
UMC countered with patent infringement lawsuits against Micron in the mainland China courts in January of 2018 and things went badly for the US.
The move calls to mind the ban on exports slapped on ZTE after it broke sanctions on sales to Iran and then lied about it. American authorities lifted the ban in July after ZTE paid a $1 billion fine, agreed to replace its executive team and hired US -selected compliance officers.
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The stand-off between the world's two superpowers continued this week as the U.S. banned exports to a Chinese tech manufacturer on national security grounds.