The U.S. government recently added 36 Chinese companies to its export blacklist
, including China's top flash memory chip maker.
The Department of Commerce
(DOC) confirmed the addition of the three dozen firms on its Entity List. Inclusion in the list effectively blocks the companies from accessing crucial commodities, software and technologies in America unless U.S.-based suppliers acquire specific sales approvals.
The move sought to impact China's semiconductor industry by blocking the communist nation from a global hi-tech supply chain that backs the manufacturing of modern military equipment. (Related: U.S. blacklists dozens of Chinese firms to protect national security
Alan Estevez, DOC undersecretary for industry and security, said in statement: "We are building on the actions we took in October to protect U.S. national security by severely restricting the [People's Republic of China's] ability to leverage artificial intelligence, advanced computing, and other powerful, commercially available technologies for military modernization and human rights abuses."
The move didn't sit well with China.
The Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs
(MFA) accused Washington of overextending the idea of national security, abusing export control measures and weaponizing matters related to science and technology.
"This is blatant economic coercion and bullying in the field of technology," MFA spokesman Wang Wenbin said during a press conference. Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi, Wang's superior, called on South Korea to oppose the U.S. chip export controls
during a virtual meeting with South Korean Foreign Affairs Minister Park Jin.
The Chinese Ministry of Commerce
, meanwhile, lodged a formal complaint at the World Trade Organization
(WTO) against American restrictions on semiconductors and other hi-tech exports to Chinese companies. The ministry argued that the WTO complaint was "necessary" to defend China's legitimate interests.
Flash memory maker among blacklisted firms
Most prominent among the 36 recently blacklisted firms is Yangtze Memory Technologies Co. (YMTC). The Wuhan-based YMTC, a state-owned corporation, is the largest player in China's flash memory market. A Japan-based YMTC subsidiary was also included in the blacklist.
The DOC had included the two firms on its Unverified List last October over concerns that they could switch U.S. technologies to telecommunications equipment giant Huawei and security camera maker Hikvision. Both Huawei and Hikvision were included in an earlier iteration of the blacklist.
Another famous name on the expanded Entity List was Shanghai Micro Electronics Equipment, which is possibly Beijing's best prospect to create machines that can assemble advanced chips
. The company was also on the Unverified List.
Tiandy, one of the best video surveillance suppliers in the world, was also placed on the blacklist after being accused of assisting "hi-tech surveillance" against Uyghurs and other Muslim minority groups in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region and aiding Iran to acquire items originating in America.
Among the latest names on the list, 21 firms were identified as important players in research and development, manufacturing and sales of AI chips with close links to government organizations backing China's defense industry.
The DOC also used the foreign direct product rule to 21 of the 36 corporations on the Entity List to stop them from getting American-origin technologies from other nations.
Another seven entities on the list were identified as helping the Chinese military work on producing hypersonic weapons and ballistic missile systems.
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