China accuses US of ‘economic bullying’

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Washington’s microchip export controls are destroying global supply chains, Beijing has claimed

Restrictions imposed by the US on exports of computer chips to China go beyond the concept of national security and destroy supply chains, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Mao Ning said on Monday.

The Biden Administration introduced a sweeping set of export controls in 2022 aimed at slowing China’s technological advance, claiming the decision was motivated by national security concerns. Among the measures was a ban on sales to China of certain semiconductor chips made anywhere in the world with US equipment, and a block on shipments of chips for supercomputing systems and artificial intelligence (AI).

Speaking at a weekly press conference in Beijing, Mao said that the US has “unreasonably” suppressed China’s semiconductor enterprises, according to Global Times newspaper, adding that the restrictions are “a genuine act of economic bullying.”

The US Department of Commerce also announced it would conduct a semiconductor supply chain review in January to “reduce national security risks” posed by Beijing.

“The US is using ‘national security’ as a pretext to restrict chip exports to China, but in fact its relevant initiatives completely go beyond the boundaries of the concept of national security, so that the normal trade of ordinary civilian-use chips is significantly restricted,” Mao said. Such actions have also seriously impacted the stability of international production and supply chains, she added.

According to the Global Times, the US-made Nvidia RTX4090 graphics card, which is mainly designed for use with computer games, has been taken off the shelves in China due to the export control measures. Instead, the world’s leading AI chipmaker recently unveiled a slower, less powerful version of the card that complies with US export controls and can be sold in the Asian nation.

The Dutch firm ASML, a key player in the global semiconductor manufacturing supply chain, reportedly cancelled shipments of hi-tech microchip machinery to China last week after being pressured by the US government.

Beijing on Sunday announced its own sanctions on five American defense industry companies, citing arms sales to Taiwan and the unilateral sanctions which the US has slapped on Chinese companies and individuals.

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