China restricts chip exports amid US consideration of new curbs
China has announced to impose restrictions on the export of rare metals crucial for semiconductor manufacturing. The Ministry of Commerce and China Customs released guidelines on Monday, stating that Chinese exporters will require approval to send specific gallium and germanium products overseas, effective from August 1. The purpose of these measures, according to the Chinese government, is to safeguard security and national interests.
This development comes at a time when the United States is reportedly contemplating further restrictions on the export of advanced chips to China. Gallium, recognized as a critical raw material by the European Union, finds extensive use in the production of integrated circuits, LEDs, and photovoltaic panels for solar energy. Germanium, on the other hand, is a key component in the manufacturing of optical fibers and infrared camera lenses. China currently dominates approximately 80 percent of global rare metal production, as stated by the European Commission.
The rivalry between China and the US has escalated into a fierce geopolitical contest in recent years, leading to reciprocal actions targeting semiconductor and other crucial technological sectors. Washington has imposed sanctions on numerous Chinese companies with the intention of limiting their access to American chips and cutting-edge technologies, citing concerns over potential threats to US national security. Furthermore, the US has been urging its allies and partner countries to implement restrictions on the Chinese tech industry. As a response, the Netherlands is planning to introduce export curbs targeting China later this year.
Beijing has accused Washington of attempting to stifle Chinese innovation in order to maintain American dominance in the tech industry. The ongoing tensions between the two nations have significantly impacted the global technology landscape and continue to shape the future of the semiconductor industry.