China calls for WTO review of US-led chip export restrictions

China calls for WTO review of US-led chip export restrictions

BEIJING, CHINA — Beijing has asked the United States, Japan and the Netherlands to confirm the existence of an alleged agreement between the three countries to curb semiconductor exports to China, state media reported Wednesday.

Beijing’s representatives issued the request during a regular meeting this week at the World Trade Organization (WTO), according to a state television broadcast.

Representatives demanded that the three countries “notify the WTO of the agreement and subsequent measures, and (called) on the WTO to strengthen supervision of the measures”.

Washington has in recent years attempted to cut Chinese companies out of supply chains that provide access to advanced chip technology while urging its allies to adopt similar measures.

In October 2022, Washington introduced new export controls in a bid to limit the ability of Chinese entities to purchase and manufacture high-end chips with possible military applications.

The Netherlands, a leading producer of components used to manufacture semiconductors, announced similar restrictions last month, followed closely by Japan.

China, which has sought in recent years to achieve self-reliance in the semiconductor field, maintains that the curbs are designed to preserve US technological supremacy in the face of Beijing’s rise.

After Japan announced export controls last week, a Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson lambasted the decision as an attempt to “politicise, instrumentalise and weaponise trade and technology issues”.

“With this type of action, they are harming others, but they are also harming themselves at the same time.”

And Beijing has started to take reciprocal action as Washington ramps up efforts to restrict the flow of advanced technology to China.

The country’s top internet regulator announced on Friday that it had launched an investigation into US firm Micron Technology — a leading producer of memory chips — citing the need to “safeguard national security”.

“Both Chinese companies and foreign companies operating in China must abide by Chinese laws and regulations and must not endanger China’s national security,” said a foreign ministry spokesperson during a regular Monday press conference.


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