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US tightens restrictions on Huawei's chip supply16 May 2020

Commerce Department says move cuts 'off Huawei’s efforts to undermine U.S. export controls'

The Commerce Department moved Friday to further restrict Chinese telecoms giant Huawei's access to US technologies, targeting its chip supply.

The department said it was moving to "narrowly and strategically target Huawei’s acquisition of semiconductors that are the direct product of certain U.S. software and technology."

Washington last May put Huawei and many of its affiliates on what is known as an "entity list," which requires US firms to obtain heavily-restricted special licenses in order to sell goods to the company.

The Commerce Department said its move Friday is a step to further tighten the restrictions and cut "off Huawei’s efforts to undermine U.S. export controls."

"Huawei has continued to use U.S. software and technology to design semiconductors, undermining the national security and foreign policy purposes of the Entity List by commissioning their production in overseas foundries using U.S. equipment," the department said.

Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross accused Huawei of continuing "to use U.S. software and technology to design semiconductors, undermining the national security and foreign policy purposes of the Entity List."

“This is not how a responsible global corporate citizen behaves. We must amend our rules exploited by Huawei and HiSilicon and prevent U.S. technologies from enabling malign activities contrary to U.S. national security and foreign policy interests,” he said.

HiSilicon is one of the 114 Huawei overseas-related affiliates that were designated alongside the parent company in a series of actions.

The Commerce Department's announcement comes amid a deterioration in US-Sino relations following the global coronavirus pandemic. The virus was first detected in December in the Chinese city of Wuhan, and has since spread to nearly every corner of the globe.

Relations between Washington and Beijing that were greatly strained by a trade war that sent shockwaves through the global economy were vastly improved by the signing of an initial agreement to end the feud in January, but the virus outbreak has all but erased any gains that afforded.

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