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US blacklists China chipmaker Yangtze Memory Technologies

As part of the US latest move to target Chinese technology companies that threaten its security, Yangtze Memory Technologies is set to be placed on a trade blacklist.

As early as this week, the US commerce department will place YMTC and other Chinese companies on its “entity list.” Companies on the list are forbidden from selling technology to US firms without a hard-to-obtain export license.

Yangtze Memory Technologies

It comes two months after the US imposed harsh export controls that made getting and producing cutting-edge semiconductors more difficult for China.

YMTC appears to have violated US export controls by supplying Nand memory chips to Huawei, a Chinese telecoms equipment maker.

In recent months, US lawmakers have urged the Biden administration to list the company as an entity. Apple had also been warned by lawmakers that if it purchased YMTC chips, it would face harsh scrutiny.

In addition to introducing export controls on October 7, the US also placed over 30 Chinese companies, including YMTC, on the list of entities that aren’t verified by the US to ensure American technology isn’t being diverted for unauthorized purposes.

US companies faced the threat of being placed on the entity list if they didn’t allow the US to conduct investigations within 60 days. The top commerce department official for export controls announced last week that China was allowing inspections of some companies after a long period of non-cooperation.

According to him, the US is “seeing better behavior” from China’s commerce ministry, which oversees end-use checks. Despite this, the US commerce department refused to reveal how many companies cooperated at the time.

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US And China Tech War Heats Up

The U.S. and China are looking for ways to keep their relationship from deteriorating any further.

China, which filed a dispute with the World Trade Organization over October 7 export controls, is likely to protest YMTC’s move. The White House has called YMTC a “national champion.”

The Biden administration is also concerned that YMTC will sell memory chips below cost in addition to violating US law. YMTC has been stockpiling foreign chipmaking equipment for months.

All in anticipation that the White House was preparing to make decisions that would hurt the company. The action is just another escalation in the US-China tech war. The White House and Congress are trying to make it more difficult for China to develop tech with military capabilities, such as artificial intelligence and modeling for nuclear weapons.

China is also looking to increase its indigenous technological capabilities, as it faces pressure from the US and its allies. Other international experts warn that Beijing will ride out the US chip sanctions.

Right now the US, Japan, and the Netherlands are working on a trilateral deal to prevent the Japanese and the Dutch from selling advanced equipment to China.

The US is looking to establish a similar ban that was placed on American toolmakers. This new move comes after President Biden’s first in-person meeting with President Xi Jinping at the G20 Summit in Bali.

The two leaders are trying to keep their relationship from deteriorating any further. But President Biden has said it will not hold back in areas related to national security. Washington has also targeted another Chinese tech company, Tiandy Technologies, a surveillance camera manufacturer.

There are some who accuse the company of using facial recognition to help the country persecute Uyghurs. The company has also sold equipment to Iran’s security services.

The US is also looking at how to take action against China’s biggest surveillance camera maker, Hikvision. This company has sold cameras to over 180 countries, including the US and the United Kingdom.

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