A Washington official made the most direct comment yet by a U.S. official acknowledging that an agreement exists for Japan and the Netherlands to impose new restrictions on exports of chip-making tools to China.
“I can’t talk about the deal right now,” said Deputy Commerce Secretary Don Graves, speaking on the sidelines of the event in Washington. I can.”
Bloomberg reported Friday that a deal had been finalized, and two people familiar with the matter later confirmed the news to Reuters.
In October, the United States imposed drastic export restrictions on shipments of chip-making tools to China in an attempt to thwart Beijing’s ability to expand its chip industry and strengthen its military.
For the restrictions to be effective, Washington had to enlist the Netherlands and Japan. The Netherlands and Japan include major semiconductor manufacturers He ASML and Tokyo Electron.
In an email, the Commerce Department called it a “priority” and said it would continue to coordinate export controls with foreign allies. “We recognize that multilateral control is more effective than unilateral control.
Dutch and Japanese officials were discussing a wide range of issues at a meeting led by White House National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan on Friday.
When asked if the semiconductor deal was discussed on Friday, US President Joe Biden said, “Yes, we talked about a lot of things, much of it private.
China’s semiconductor industry is a prime target of US export controls. Although the Chinese government has invested in developing domestic industries, China’s manufacturing plants, known as fabs, still rely heavily on foreign-made equipment.
China’s largest fab, SMIC, makes chips used in products for the automotive sector, Internet of Things devices and some smartphones.
The United States has added SMIC to its Entity List in 2020. This effectively banned the Dutch company ASML from supplying extreme ultraviolet lithography equipment to his SMIC.
YMTC is the only Chinese player in the global NAND memory market. The NAND memory market is a highly competitive sector and has long been dominated by a few companies from the US and South Korea. It designs and manufactures chips and was added to the US Entity List in 2022.
YMTC will unveil a chip with 232 layers of memory cells in 2022, moving closer to rivals such as South Korea’s Samsung. Experts say further efforts are likely to be derailed by equipment export restrictions.
CXMT is the only major Chinese company that designs and manufactures DRAM chips, a sector long dominated by a handful of companies from the US, South Korea and Taiwan, as well as Nand memory.