Li_DanLi_Dan ・ May. 8, 2024
US Said to Revoke Some Licenses for Chip Exports to Huawei
The US House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman said the revocation, which blocks any chips sold to Huawei, is key to preventing China from developing advanced AI.

TMTPost -- The Biden administration seems tightening its export control on Chinese tech industry with new actions against Huawei Technologies Co., Ltd.

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The U.S. Department of Commerce revoked export licenses for Qualcomm Inc. and Intel Corp. supplying Huawei with  semiconductors, the Financial Times reported on Tuesday, citing unidentified people familiar with the matter. The U.S. government move was said to affect the supply of chips for Huawei’s laptop computers and mobile phones. The Commerce Department later confirmed to the Financial Times that it had “revoked certain licenses for exports to Huawei” but did not name which US companies would be affected. “We continuously assess how our controls can best protect our national security and foreign policy interests,” the department said in a statement Tuesday.

Bloomberg sources said withdrawal of the licenses affects U.S. sales of chips for use in Huawei phones and laptops. Michael McCaul, the House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman, confirmed the decision of withdrawal in an interview Tuesday. He said the move, which blocks any chips sold to Huawei, is key to preventing China from developing advanced artificial intelligence (AI). The Representative called Qualcomm and Intel “two companies we’ve always worried about being a little too close to China.” 

Reuters the same day cited people familiar with the matter that the U.S. revoked some licenses that allows companies to ship goods like chips to Huawei. Though not confirming which American companies are affected, the sources said some companies were informed that revocation of licenses was effective immediately.

The revocation was the U.S. government’s further restrictions on Chinese high-tech. The U.S. Department of Commerce introduced last October a rule to reinforce the export controls launched in October 2022 to restrict China’s both purchase and manufacture certain high-end chips critical for military advantage. The rule was supposed to come into effect following a 30-day public comment period. However, Nvidia Corporation, the AI chip leader,disclosed on October 25 that the U.S. government informed the licensing requirements of the rule applicable to products having a “total processing performance” of 4800 or more and designed or marketed for data centers, was effective immediately.

The U.S. Commerce Department took further steps a draft rule in January, which requires American cloud service providers to reveal foreign customers' names and IP addresses and report suspicious malicious cyber-enabled activity when customers train a large AI model. Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo said the rule targets foreign entities including Chinese ones’ access to U.S. data centers to train AI models. "We can't have non-state actors or China or folks who we don’t want accessing our cloud to train their models," Raimondo told Reuters in an interview in February. "We use export controls on chips. Those chips are in American cloud data centers so we also have to think about closing down that avenue for potential malicious activity,"  the Secretary said.

Bloomberg reported in March the U.S. government is considering blacklisting Chinese semiconductor companies related to Huawei, including chipmakers Qingdao Si'En, SwaySure, and Shenzhen Pensun Technology Co, (PST) and China’s leading memory chipmaker, ChangXin Memory Technologies Inc.,(CXMT). Most of companies that could be placed on the blacklist were identified as chipmaking facilities took over or being built by Huawei by the Washington-based trade group Semiconductor Industry Association, according to the report.

The U.S. Commerce Department also revised rules in March to reinforces the controls launched in October 2022 to restrict China’s both purchase and manufacture certain high-end chips critical for military advantage. Under the revised rules,restrictions are expanded to laptops containing AI chips, making China harder to access U.S. AI chips and chipmaking tools.

China remains firmly opposed to the U.S. tech blockade and restrictions on China and sanctions and suppression against Chinese companies, which gravely harm the legitimate rights and interests of Chinese companies, violate market economy principles, undermine international trade rules, and destabilize the global industrial and supply chains, Lin Jian, the spokesperson of China’s Foreign Ministry, commented on reported U.S. looming list of Chinese advanced chipmaking factories barred from receiving key tools from the U.S. at press late March.

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