The U.S. Commerce Department said Friday it has added China'sSemiconductor Manufacturing International Corp. and drone manufacturer SZ DJI Technology Co. to its trade blacklist, in a move that could further escalate tensions between the world's two largest economies ahead of President Donald Trump's departure from office.
SMIC was placed on the so-called Entity List amid allegations that the major chipmaker poses national security risks to the United States. DJI was among the dozens of entities blacklisted the same day over alleged human rights abuses, militarization of the South China Sea and theft of U.S. trade secrets.
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."
Due to the action, 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.
SMIC plays a key role in China's efforts to develop a self-sufficient semiconductor industry.
Reacting to a media report on the blacklisting of SMIC, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin said at a press conference on Friday in Beijing that the move is "another proof that the United States has been using its state power to crack down on Chinese companies."
"China firmly opposes such practices," he said.
On DJI, the Commerce Department said it was among the entities that have enabled "wide-scale human rights abuses within China" through abusive genetic collection, analysis or high-technology surveillance and other activities contrary to U.S. foreign policy interests.
"China actively promotes the reprehensible practices of forced labor, DNA collection and ubiquitous surveillance to repress its citizens in Xinjiang and elsewhere," the department said in a separate press release, referring to the treatment of Uyghur Muslims and other ethnic and religious minority groups in the country.
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.
© Kyodo News International, Inc., source Newswire