The Biden administration announced new restrictions on the sale of artificial intelligence (AI) chips to China on Tuesday in an effort to crack down on attempts to circumvent earlier export controls.
“Today’s updated rules will increase effectiveness of our controls and further shut off pathways to evade our restrictions,” Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo. said in a statement.
“These controls maintain our clear focus on military applications and confront the threats to our national security posed by the [People’s Republic of China] Government’s military-civil fusion strategy,” she added.
The new restrictions require companies who are based in — or whose parent company is based in, any of nearly two dozen countries under US arms embargoes to obtain a license to export controlled chips and their components.
The expanded licensing requirement — which previously applied only to China and Macau — aims to prevent companies from obtaining the technology through foreign subsidiaries and branches, the Commerce Department said in Tuesday’s press release.
“By imposing stringent license requirements, we ensure that those seeking to obtain powerful advanced chips and chip manufacturing equipment will not use these technologies to undermine US national security,” Thea Rozman Kendler, the assistant secretary of commerce for export administration, said in a statement. .
Both the initial restrictions, which were issued last October, and the new additions come in response to the Biden administration’s concerns that advanced AI technology will be used to expand China’s military capabilities.
Following a trip to Beijing and Shanghai in late August, Raimondo said the administration is “trying to choke” China’s military capacity.
“If they feel that, that means our strategy’s working,” she told NBC’s “Meet the Press” in early September. “Certainly, on my watch, we are not going to sell the most sophisticated American chip to China that they want for their military capacity.”
A spokesperson for China’s Foreign Ministry slammed reports of the new export controls on Monday, accusing the US of “politicizing and weaponizing trade and tech issues” and “destabilizing global industrial and supply chains.”