US eyes restricting chip manufacturing equipment and other exports

A wafer with hundreds of Power PC microprocessors is loaded into a machine to apply an oxide layer as part of the insulation process at the IBM 300 mm Manufacturing Plant in East Fishkill, New York. (File photo: Reuters)

The United States is considering new restrictions on exports of semiconductor manufacturing equipment and associated software tools, lasers, sensors, and other technology to prevent them from falling into the hands of US adversaries like China.

The US Commerce Department said in a posting on a government website on Wednesday it was seeking public input on how to define new technologies as it determines “whether there are specific foundational technologies that warrant more restrictive controls” in the export process.

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The Trump administration has restricted technology exports to Chinese companies in particular, notably telecommunications company Huawei Technologies, citing national security.

Read more: US expands sanctions, limits technology access to China’s Huawei

The Trump administration said the emerging technologies could be used the militaries of adversaries such as “China, Russia or Venezuela.”

Last year the administration was finalizing a set of narrow rules to limit exports of products like quantum computing and 3-D printing technologies.

The public comment period, which is expected to draw interest from industry seeking to protect its technological advantages, will close in 60 days after its scheduled publication in the Federal Register tomorrow, the Commerce Department said.

Last Update: Wednesday, 26 August 2020 KSA 19:28 - GMT 16:28