US Considers New Sanctions on Chip Exports to China, Focusing on AI Chips

In a bid to bolster its control over chip exports to China, the Biden administration is reportedly gearing up for a fresh round of sanctions, with a primary focus on AI chips. This development comes in the wake of concerns surrounding Huawei’s recent Mate 60 series phones, equipped with 5G-capable chipsets, and components like SK Hynix RAM, all sourced from China despite existing US sanctions.

US sanctions on chip exports to China

A report by Reuters, quoting an unnamed U.S. official, suggests that the impending sanctions aim to extend restrictions on chip exports to China, particularly in the realm of artificial intelligence. Rather than targeting chips meant for consumer electronics, the new restrictions will require U.S.-based semiconductor manufacturers to notify the U.S. Commerce Department when fulfilling orders for their most potent products bound for Chinese companies. The Commerce Department will then scrutinize each case to assess potential national security threats.

One notable aspect of the upcoming measures is the introduction of a “performance density parameter” for chip exports. This parameter seeks to close potential workarounds and safeguard against chip exports that could circumvent existing restrictions.

These developments mark a strategic move by the United States to maintain a stronghold on critical technological assets while addressing national security concerns. In an era where advanced semiconductor technology plays a pivotal role in various industries, including AI, it becomes imperative to carefully regulate the flow of these components.

As discussions around the proposed sanctions progress, the tech industry, both in the U.S. and China, will be closely monitoring the potential ramifications for their operations. These sanctions reflect the delicate balance between ensuring national security and fostering international trade relationships, with AI chips at the forefront of these considerations.


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