US to restrict Huawei’s development of semiconductors

WASHINGTON: The Trump administration said Friday it would restrict the ability of Chinese telecoms giant Huawei, which it considers a national security risk, to develop semiconductors abroad with US technology.

“This announcement cuts off Huawei’s efforts to undermine US export controls,” the Commerce Department said in a statement.

The department said it would “narrowly and strategically target Huawei’s acquisition of semiconductors that are the direct product of certain US software and technology”.

Huawei has been under relentless pressure from Washington, which has lobbied allies worldwide to avoid the company’s telecom gear over security concerns, in the shadow of a wider US-China trade conflict.

Washington last year said it would blacklist Huawei from the US market and from buying crucial American components, though it has extended a series of reprieves to allow US businesses that work with Huawei time to adjust. On Friday it extended this reprieve by another 90 days.

The Commerce Department said that since it put Huawei on its blacklist in 2019, companies that wanted to export US items were required to obtain a license.

But Huawei continued to use US software and technology to design semiconductors by commissioning their production in overseas foundries using US equipment, it said.

“Huawei and its foreign affiliates have stepped-up efforts to undermine these national security-based restrictions through an indigenisation effort. However, that effort is still dependent on US technologies,” Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said.

“This is not how a responsible global corporate citizen behaves.”