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Biden Admin Tightens Exporting AI Chip Restrictions To China

  The   Biden administration   tightened restrictions on exporting advanced computing semiconductors and semiconductor manufacturing equipme...

 The Biden administration tightened restrictions on exporting advanced computing semiconductors and semiconductor manufacturing equipment to China on Tuesday to counter the Chinese government from producing military applications involving hypersonic missiles and artificial intelligence.

U.S. Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo said in a news release that the administration updated the export rules to further shut off pathways China uses to evade restrictions.

“These controls maintain our clear focus on military applications and confront the threats to our national security posed by the [People’s Republic of China] Government’s military-civil fusion strategy,” Raimondo said. “As we implement these restrictions, we will keep working to protect our national security by restricting access to critical technologies, vigilantly enforcing our rules, while minimizing any unintended impact on trade flows.”

The updated restrictions impose license requirements for companies from nearly two dozen countries under U.S. arms embargoes to prevent countries of concern from diverting access to restricted items to China.

Raimondo reportedly told members of the press on Monday that while AI has the potential for “huge societal benefits,” it could also invoke “tremendous and profound harm if in the wrong hands and in the wrong militaries.”

The move comes over a year after Biden officials announced they would revise China’s access to certain high-end chips critical for military advantage.

After visiting Beijing and Shanghai in August, The Hill reported Raimondo said that the Biden administration is “trying to choke” China’s military capacity.

“If they feel that, that means our strategy’s working,” she told NBC’s “Meet the Press” in early September. “Certainly, on my watch, we are not going to sell the most sophisticated American chip to China that they want for their military capacity.”


But she reportedly said the Biden administration’s “export controls are not designed to impair China’s economic growth.”

“We don’t want to be more restrictive than necessary,” Raimondo said, adding that the vast majority of semiconductors would remain unrestricted.

Mao Ning, a Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson, criticized the U.S. for expanding export controls on Monday, accusing the U.S. of “politicizing and weaponizing trade and tech issues” and “destabilizing global industrial and supply chains.”

President Joe Biden signed an executive order in August imposing restrictions on outbound
investments in China’s industries ranging from artificial intelligence to semiconductor and quantum computing, but administration officials reportedly admitted that slowing down the Chinese military from gaining access to such technology without economic consequences could pose a challenge.

“Now I can’t say that there’s not going to be some slowdown in Chinese capability around artificial intelligence at that high level that could possibly be used for goodness,” a senior administration official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity in a briefing ahead of the announcement, told The Washington Post. “But we have to focus on the national security implications there. Large language model applications or military applications can be very risky for the United States and its allies.”

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