The U.S. imposed export restrictions on Semiconductor Manufacturing International Corp., taking aim at another prominent Chinese technology company and adding to tensions between the two countries over the critical industry.
U.S. firms must now apply for a license to export certain products to China’s largest chipmaker, the Commerce Dept. said in letter dated Sept. 25, reviewed by Bloomberg News. SMIC and its subsidiaries present “an unacceptable risk of diversion to a military end use,” the department’s Bureau of Industry and Security wrote.
SMIC has not been put on the so-called U.S. entity list, which means the restrictions are not yet as severe as those imposed on China’s Huawei Technologies Co. The U.S. has reportedly said it was mulling the more severe blacklisting, which would affect exports from a broader set of companies.
“The military end-use rules only apply to a subset of listed U.S. origin items. The Entity List rules apply to all U.S. origin and some foreign-origin items,” said Kevin Wolf, an exportcontrol lawyer at Akin Gump and senior Commerce Department official in the Obama administration.
The SMIC decision was a compromise between