The U.S. Department of Commerce’s Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) announced a set of updates to its export controls aimed at restricting the People’s Republic of China’s ability to obtain advanced computing chips, develop and maintain supercomputers, and manufacture advanced semiconductors.
Specifically, the updated rule:
- Adds certain advanced and high-performance computing chips and computer commodities that contain such chips to the Commerce Control List (CCL);
- Adds new license requirements for items destined for a supercomputer or semiconductor development or production end use in the PRC;
- Expands the scope of the Export Administration Regulations (EAR) over certain foreign-produced advanced computing items and foreign produced items for supercomputer end uses;
- Expands the scope of foreign-produced items subject to license requirements to twenty-eight existing entities on the Entity List that are located in the PRC;
- Adds certain semiconductor manufacturing equipment and related items to the CCL;
- Adds new license requirements for items destined to a semiconductor fabrication “facility” in the PRC that fabricates ICs meeting specified. Licenses for facilities owned by PRC entities will face a “presumption of denial,” and facilities owned by multinationals will be decided on a case-by-case basis. The relevant thresholds are as follows: Logic chips with non-planar transistor architectures (I.e., FinFET or GAAFET) of 16nm or 14nm, or below; DRAM memory chips of 18nm half-pitch or less; NAND flash memory chips with 128 layers or more.
- Restricts the ability of U.S. persons to support the development, or production, of ICs at certain PRC-located semiconductor fabrication “facilities” without a license;
- Adds new license requirements to export items to develop or produce semiconductor manufacturing equipment and related items; and
- Establishes a Temporary General License (TGL) to minimize the short-term impact on the semiconductor supply chain by allowing specific, limited manufacturing activities related to items destined for use outside the PRC.
“As I told Congress in July, my north star at BIS is to ensure that we are appropriately doing everything in our power to protect our national security and prevent sensitive technologies with military applications from being acquired by the People’s Republic of China’s military, intelligence, and security services,” said Under Secretary of Commerce for Industry and Security Alan Estevez. “The threat environment is always changing, and we are updating our policies today to make sure we’re addressing the challenges posed by the PRC while we continue our outreach and coordination with allies and partners.”
“The PRC has poured resources into developing supercomputing capabilities and seeks to become a world leader in artificial intelligence by 2030. It is using these capabilities to monitor, track, and surveil their own citizens, and fuel its military modernization,” said Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Export Administration Thea D. Rozman Kendler. “Our actions will protect U.S. national security and foreign policy interests while also sending a clear message that U.S. technological leadership is about values as well as innovation.”