published : 2023-09-07

Chair of bipartisan panel on China calls for blocking tech exports to Huawei, SMIC

Gallagher warned that the new chips in Huawei phones made by SMIC likely used U.S. tech

A photo of Representative Mike Gallagher, chair of the House Select Committee on Strategic Competition between the U.S. and the Chinese Communist Party, discussing trade restrictions with China. (Taken with a Canon EOS 5D Mark IV)

The chair of the House of Representatives' committee on China, Representative Mike Gallagher, called for the U.S. Commerce Department to halt all technology exports to Huawei and China's leading semiconductor firm. This comes in response to the discovery of new chips in Huawei phones that may be in violation of trade restrictions.

Representative Gallagher, a prominent Republican lawmaker overseeing the select committee, has been urging the Biden administration to adopt a tougher stance on the transfer of U.S. technology to China. His comments follow the recent release of Huawei's latest phone, the Mate 60 Pro, which is believed to contain a chip developed through a breakthrough technology by Semiconductor International Manufacturing Corp (SMIC).

An image capturing the new chips in Huawei phones that may have utilized U.S. technology, raising concerns over trade violations. (Taken with a Nikon D850)

Gallagher stated that this chip's production would not have been possible without the use of U.S. technology, potentially putting SMIC in violation of the Department of Commerce's Foreign Direct Product Rule. He emphasized the need to cut off any firm that disregards U.S. law and poses a threat to national security from accessing American technology.

Huawei has been under scrutiny since being placed on a trade blacklist in 2019 due to concerns surrounding national security. This led to restrictions on U.S. suppliers and others requiring a special license to trade with the company. Subsequently, SMIC was added to the entity list in 2020 over fears of technology diversion to military users.

A visual representation of the U.S. Commerce Department overseeing export controls and the impact of technology exports on national security. (Taken with a Sony Alpha a7 III)

The trade restrictions imposed on Huawei and SMIC, including the Foreign Direct Product Rule, aim to prevent companies worldwide from utilizing U.S. tools to manufacture chips for Huawei. However, despite being on the trade lists, suppliers to both companies have reportedly received licenses worth billions of dollars to sell U.S. technology, with a majority of those licenses intended for SMIC.

Although the U.S. Commerce Department's bureau overseeing export controls has not yet provided a comment regarding the chair's call to action, the urgency expressed by Gallagher highlights the importance of safeguarding national interests and maintaining technological superiority in an increasingly competitive landscape.