US blacklists China’s biggest chipmaker

Photo: AP

US government has stepped up its offensive against China by placing the biggest maker of processor chips in the growing trade and investment black list. The ban limits the possibility of accessing US technology and funding.

In a move at the end of last week The Pentagon added four companies including Semiconductor Manufacturing International Corp. and China National Offshore Oil Corp. to a list of companies deemed to be part of efforts to modernize the ruling Communist Party’s military wing, the People’s Liberation Army. That raises the total number of companies on the blacklist to 35.

On Friday, the Chinese foreign ministry accused Washington of abusing national security arguments to handicap fledgling Chinese industrial competitors.

SMIC plays a leading role in the ruling party’s effort to reduce reliance on US and other foreign technology by creating Chinese suppliers of processor chips and other components.

That has taken on greater urgency after Washington blocked access to American chips and other technology for telecom equipment giant Huawei Technologies Ltd. and imposed curbs on other Chinese buyers. The White House also has blocked the use of U.S. technology by global vendors to produce chips for Huawei. CNOOC is the smallest of China’s three main state-owned oil producers.

Also cited by the Pentagon in earlier lists are state-owned phone carriers China Telecom Corp. and China Unicom Ltd. and petrochemical, construction, aerospace, rocketry, shipbuilding and nuclear power equipment companies.

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