In a move designed to bolster national security and thwart any potential circumvention attempts, the United States is clamping down on the export of artificial intelligence-enabling chips to China, heralding a new era of restrictions for semiconductor makers. The U.S. government unveiled this expansion of its export control rules, casting a wider net that extends its influence over dozens of countries.
Feds Block AI Chips To China : The New Export Rules
The Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) unleashed a trifecta of pivotal export control measures. These new rules build upon the foundation laid last year, cementing the government’s commitment to safeguarding its interests.
Rule 1: Expanding the Scope
The first rule dramatically broadens the geographical scope of restrictions on semiconductor manufacturing equipment. While these controls initially covered China and Macau, they will now encompass an astonishing 21 nations. This expansion is a powerful deterrent against potential transshipments of chips destined for resale in China. It promises to shine a brighter spotlight on the procurement networks and customers involved in these transactions, a development set to create waves in the semiconductor industry.
Rule 2: Performance Takes Center Stage
The second rule, a true game-changer, rewrites the rulebook on advanced chip exports. Gone is the outdated consideration of “interconnect bandwidth” as a benchmark for licensing requirements. In its place, we now have a “performance density threshold.” This new metric is a pre-emptive strike against future attempts to circumvent regulations and ushers in a new era of control. Notably, this rule extends license requirements not only to companies with direct ties to Macau but also to those based in countries subject to U.S. arms embargoes, offering a formidable defensive line against chip exports.
Rule 3: Blacklisting Trouble-Makers
The third rule, perhaps the most immediate and impactful of all, adds a collection of 13 Chinese companies to the notorious BIS Entity List. This includes Biren Technology and Moore Threads Technology, as well as their Chinese subsidiaries. These entities will now be subject to rigorous license requirements and intense scrutiny, a major blow to their aspirations of obtaining advanced U.S. technology with commercial applications.
A Pledge to Protect National Interests
Secretary of Commerce Gina M. Raimondo, the driving force behind these changes, affirmed that these updated rules are pivotal in maintaining focus on national security and military applications. She declared, “Today’s updated rules will increase effectiveness of our controls and further shut off pathways to evade our restrictions. These controls maintain our clear focus on military applications and confront the threats to our national security posed by the PRC government’s military-civil fusion strategy.”