The U.S. government is taking measures to restrict China's access to advanced technology by implementing fresh export controls on advanced computing semiconductors and microchip manufacturing equipment. These controls are a pivotal component of the Biden administration's strategy to prevent China from harnessing U.S. technology for its military expansion. The updated regulations are intended to safeguard critical technologies from falling into China's hands and potentially bolstering its military prowess.
Commerce Secretary Gina M. Raimondo emphasized that these new restrictions will enhance the effectiveness of existing controls and close off avenues that China has exploited to bypass these restrictions. They will further bolster the measures initiated back in October 2022, which curtailed Chinese entities from procuring and manufacturing high-end microchips considered essential for military advantages.
The primary objective of these controls is to forestall Chinese industries from manufacturing integrated circuits that underpin advanced weaponry, such as military artificial intelligence and quantum computing systems. By eliminating the loopholes that have allowed China to gain access to these technologies, the U.S. seeks to safeguard its national security interests. The forthcoming Pentagon report on the Chinese military is expected to delve into intricate details regarding China's advanced weaponry and military expansion.
Moreover, these controls address apprehensions regarding China's utilization of advanced technology for cognitive electronic warfare, radar systems, signals intelligence, and jamming technologies. China has established itself as a leader in cognitive warfare, a discipline that influences the thought processes of leaders or populations. The U.S. government is concerned that such capabilities could be harnessed to support facial recognition surveillance systems linked to human rights violations and abuses.
The new export control regulations are slated to take effect on November 16, incorporating additional restrictions on the sale of advanced chips to 22 nations, China included. Thirteen Chinese chip manufacturers have been added to the BIS "entities list," designating them as blacklisted companies ineligible for access to advanced U.S. chip technology. These controls are geared towards the regulation of technologies with military applications and are designed to ensure that they do not compromise U.S. national security.
Chinese officials have expressed opposition to these export controls in recent discussions with Commerce Secretary Gina M. Raimondo. The U.S. and China are expected to engage in talks concerning trade relations in November, possibly during a meeting between President Biden and Chinese President Xi Jinping at an Asia-Pacific leaders' summit in San Francisco. The effectiveness of these export controls may hinge on international support, particularly from countries like Japan and the Netherlands, major semiconductor equipment manufacturers.
There's some confusion about how the updated Biden Administration chip export controls work. Below is my graphic guide to understanding the recently updated controls. pic.twitter.com/4SJq8Gx5vW
— Gregory C. Allen (@Gregory_C_Allen) October 18, 2023
In summary, the latest export controls are part of the Biden administration's broader strategy to impede China's access to advanced U.S. technology that could augment its military capabilities. The primary objective is to safeguard national security interests and ensure that these technologies do not contribute to military applications or human rights transgressions.