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02 November 2018, 09:56 | Joann Bryant
Trump hits Chinese chipmaker with export ban, still expects ‘great deal’ with Beijing
President Donald Trump's administration took action on Monday to cut off a Chinese state-backed chipmaker from USA suppliers amid allegations the firm stole intellectual property from US semiconductor company Micron Technology Inc.
The Commerce Department said the limits on sales to FujianJinhua Integrated Circuit Co. were needed to "limit its ability to threaten the supply chain" for the military.
The department of commerce didn't directly mention those spats in its decision, but did accuse Jinhua of pinching United States tech for its plant, saying "in light of the likely US-origin technology", the factory "threatens the long-term economic viability of USA suppliers of these essential components of U.S. military systems".
U.S. hardware maker Micron Technology has repeatedly accused Fujian Jinhua, and its Taiwanese partner United Microelectronics Corp (UMC), of stealing its chips designs [1, 2].
Have breaking news sent to your inbox. The Chinese company wasn't available for comment, and calls to the main number listed on its website went unanswered.
"At the point when a remote organization participates in action in opposition to our national security interests, we will make a solid move to ensure our national security", US Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said in an announcement. While the Commerce decision helps Micron in the short term, the administration is trying to set a precedent for how it treats Chinese state-owned enterprises in the long run, he said. In July, Micron was barred from selling some of its products in China after Jinhua and its Taiwanese partner, United Microelectronics, accused Micron of violating their patents.
Bargaining chips: Integrated circuits have become a central theme of the trade war, partly because China is so dependent on importing them from the US.
Jinhua, backed by the government of its home province of Fujian, is one of several companies China is trying to mold into a world-class semiconductor industry player.
"It's pretty much impossible to build a leading-edge fab (semiconductor plant) without buying equipment from these American companies", Gwennap said.
The company was added to the department's "Entity List", which will require it to obtain an export license for all software, technology and commodities, the Commerce Department said.
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