Days after the U.S. and several allies choked off Russian access to semiconductors, the Commerce Secretary threatened to cut off Chinese company access to critical U.S. tech needed to manufacture chips should they violate the ban.
U.S. Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo said to the New York Times Tuesday that the Biden administration could cut off SMIC and other Chinese chip makers’ access to the U.S. produced tools and software vital for the manufacture of the most advanced chips. While the prohibition on chip sales to Russia has always included the possibility of the U.S. punishing foreign businesses that violate the sanctions, Tuesday marked the first time a senior administration official specifically mentioned China and Chinese chip makers.
“They have their own self-interest to not supply this stuff to Russia,” Raimondo said to the Times. “So they’re not doing it out of the goodness of their heart. It would be devastating to China’s ability to produce these chips.”
According to the Times, Raimondo mentioned SMIC and that the Biden administration could “essentially shut” down any Chinese company that violates the ban on exporting chips to Russia and Belarus. Prior to its invasion of Ukraine, Russia bought the majority of its chips from China, though also sourced a substantial amount of memory from Samsung, and analog chips from the German company Infineon, according to a Protocol analysis of Russian import data.
In many ways, the tech sanctions implemented by the U.S. in coordination with allies in the EU and elsewhere, resemble the effort to damage Huawei. In Huawei’s case, the U.S. successfully cut it off from global semiconductor supplies, which amounted to billions of dollars in lost revenue.