The United States and the European Union are both considering stricter export restrictions on semiconductor manufacturing equipment and artificial intelligence (AI) chips to China, indicating efforts to control China’s access to key technologies.
Citing a person familiar with the matter within the U.S. government, the Reuters reported that Washington has informed Beijing of its intention to update export regulations on advanced chipmaking tools and AI chips. These regulations were first imposed on October 7, 2022, and are expected to be reinstated in October at the earliest.
The updated export rules align with recent Dutch and Japanese export controls targeting China, which aim to enhance restrictions on the export of semiconductor manufacturing equipment and address loopholes in AI chip export restrictions. U.S. chipmaker NVIDIA has introduced the A800 chip, specifically designed to comply with export limitations of the U.S. Department of Commerce on advanced AI chips to China. Once the updated rules take effect, the A800 will also be added to the export control list.
The timing of these export rule updates could impact Chinese President Xi Jinping’s scheduled visit to the U.S. for the APEC leaders’ meeting in San Francisco in November and the Biden-Xi summit.
Despite tightening export restrictions, the U.S. is maintaining communication with senior Chinese officials. The Reuters analyzed that the U.S. provided China with a heads up about the update of the trade rules in advance to stabilize its relations with China. Some analysts speculate that Washington and Beijing might make announcements after the APEC meeting. The Bloomberg reported that a bipartisan group of U.S. Senators is reportedly planning to visit China with hopes of meeting President Xi.