Tuesday, November 29, 2022

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The US is waiving export restrictions for some non-Chinese chipmakers

South Korea’s SK Hynix confirms it has received approval to purchase equipment for chip manufacturing plants in China.

The United States government has allowed at least two non-Chinese chipmakers operating in China to receive restricted goods and services without requiring their suppliers to obtain licenses, reducing the burden of a new crackdown on China’s chip sector, industry sources said.

The Biden administration had planned to shield foreign companies operating in China, such as South Korea’s memory chip makers SK Hynix and Samsung Electronics Co, from the brunt of new restrictions, but the rules released on Friday could not exempt such firms, the sources said.

South Korean company SK Hynix confirmed Wednesday that it has received approval from the US Department of Commerce to receive chip equipment needed for its chip manufacturing facilities in China for a year without additional licensing requirements.

As released, Biden administration rules require licenses before US exports can be shipped to advanced chip-making facilities in China, as part of a US effort to slow Beijing’s technological and military advances.

The US had planned to issue licenses to supply non-Chinese chip makers on a case-by-case basis, while licenses to Chinese chipmakers are likely to be denied.

Also, as of midnight Tuesday, vendors will not be able to support, maintain, and deliver such China-based factories without licenses when US companies authorize, direct, or request them to do so.

Whether or not a license is approved, the time it takes to go through the licensing process can cause delays in shipments and halts in production.

A spokesman for the U.S. Department of Commerce did not directly respond to a request for comment on the permits, but said the department hopes to receive input on the rule from stakeholders and may consider changes.

A White House spokesman also did not respond to a request for comment.

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