Published: Fri, November 02, 2018
Markets | By Noel Gibbs

US imposes restrictions on Chinese tech firm

US imposes restrictions on Chinese tech firm

Wilbur Ross, Secretary of Commerce said that when a foreign company engages in activity contrary to its national security interests, the U.S. will take strong action to protect its national security.

Setting up a new front in its trade and tech disputes with China, . the U.S. Commerce Department is blocking a Chinese state-backed semiconductor maker from importing U.S. products to make its chips.

The restriction is similar to the Commerce Department's move that almost put Chinese telecommunication equipment company ZTE Corp out of business earlier this year, . after it was cut off from US suppliers.

The U.S. Administration is planning to propose by early December tariffs on "all remaining Chinese imports" if an upcoming summit between the president and his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping fails to reach an agreement on the sidelines of the G20 summit in Buenos Aires in November.

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The Commerce Department appeared to side with Micron in its statement, claiming that the "likely US -origin technology" to be produced at the new Fujian plant would threaten "the long term economic viability of USA suppliers of these essential components of USA military systems". So far, Washington has imposed tariffs on $200 billion of Chinese goods and Beijing retaliated with tariffs on $60 billion of United States goods and stopped buying American oil.

The action is similar to a Commerce Department move that almost put Chinese telecommunications equipment company ZTE out of business earlier this year by cutting it off from US suppliers.

Recently, the United States hindered China's ZTE from working with USA organizations after it discovered it had disregarded U.S. sanctions against Iran and North Korea. The decision will also apply to technology transfers.

Under the move, American companies without a special license are restricted to sell components to Fujian Jinhua. Jinhua sued the USA company the following month in a Chinese court and obtained an order blocking sales of some Micron products.

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UMC countersued in a Chinese court, accusing Micron of infringing its patents, leading to a temporary ban in July on sales of Micron's main products in China.

He said suppliers such as Applied Materials Inc, Lam Research Corp and KLA-Tencor Corp were likely supplying equipment to Fujian Jinhua. Restrictions on Jinhua threaten to choke off supply of the crucial American components it needs, and jeopardizes a US$5.7 billion wafer-making factory it's begun building on the country's southeastern coast.

U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said in a statement that the Chinese firm's new plant likely was the beneficiary of "U.S. -origin technology" and its additional production would threaten the long-term viability of U.S. chipmakers.

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