The Biden administration has added one of China’s top chipmakers, Yangtze Memory Technologies (YMTC), along with 30 other Chinese companies to a blacklist of ones that U.S. officials have been unable to inspect. U.S. senators from both parties have been actively calling for action to be taken against YMTC in particular, asking for the manufacturer to be placed on a trade blacklist called “the entity list.”
Now, it seems like that action is officially being taken. Some of the reasons for this include the company serving as a “direct threat” to U.S. chipmaking companies, with YMTC also under investigation by the Commerce Department in regards to whether or not it violated U.S. export conditions by selling chips to Huawei Technologies, another blacklisted Chinese telecommunications company.
Elaborating further, companies are typically added to this “entity list” or “unverified list” when the U.S. is unable to complete on-site visits in order to determine whether they can be trusted and authorized to receive “sensitive technology exports” from the United States. Companies that comply with U.S. inspection rules can be removed from the list though, with recent examples of this including China’s Wuxi Biologics which makes ingredients used in AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine.
The addition of YMTC alongside other companies also comes as the administration works to restrict technology exports to China in an effort to curb its military and technological advances. The latest batch of export controls go into effect immediately, and come on the heels of letters sent out earlier in the year to toolmakers KLA Corp, Lam Research Corp, and Applied Materials Inc, requiring them to halt shipments to Chinese-owned factories producing “advanced logic chips.”
As noted by Reuters, these measures could mark one of the biggest shifts in U.S. policy toward shipping technology to China since the 90s, and could potentially set China’s chip manufacturing industry back several years by cutting off support for China’s leading factories and chip designers.
For more on this and the latest export limitations, be sure to read the full report from Reuters. Additionally, check out some of our previous coverage as well including NVIDIA (NVDA) exports to China having new U.S. government-imposed license requirements.