The Commerce Department said Friday it has added China'sSemiconductor Manufacturing International Corp. to its trade blacklist, saying that the major chipmaker poses national security risks to the United States.
The move could further escalate tensions between the world's two largest economies, just over a month ahead of President Donald Trump's departure from office.
Citing SMIC's "relationships of concern" with the Chinese military-industrial complex, Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said in a press release, "We will not allow advanced U.S. technology to help build the military of an increasingly belligerent adversary."
Placed on the department's "Entity List," SMIC will have limited ability to acquire certain U.S. technologies as American exporters are required to apply for a license to sell to the company. The applications will be reviewed under a "presumption of denial" policy, suggesting that permission will generally be refused.
The department also said it blacklisted more than 60 other entities, including those in China that allegedly enable human rights abuses, support the militarization and unlawful maritime claims in the disputed South China Sea, and engage in the theft of U.S. trade secrets.
SMIC plays a key role in China's efforts to develop a self-sufficient semiconductor industry.
Under the Trump administration, the U.S.-China confrontation has intensified on various fronts including technology security, Hong Kong, Taiwan, human rights issues and control over the South China Sea.
Bilateral tensions are likely to continue under the incoming administration of President-elect Joe Biden, who has vowed to take a tough stance against China over what Washington views as abusive trade practices and human rights violations.
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