China’s semiconductors: Latest US export controls may hinder ambitions to catch up

China’s semiconductors: Latest US export controls may hinder ambitions to catch up

Tighter US export controls on emerging technologies will prove a new barrier to China’s goal of catching up to the west in advanced semiconductor manufacturing and a Biden Administration would be unlikely to roll them back, say analysts.Last month the Bureau of Industry and Security under the US Department of Commerce designated six emerging technologies as controlled export items deemed “essential to US national security.”

They include two key technologies in chip making: computational lithography software used in EUV applications and 5-nanometre wafer production. Other areas cover computer numerically controlled tools, digital forensics tools, software that captures and analyses communications and metadata, and suborbital aircraft.

The move extends controls over dual-use products and technologies under the Wassenaar Arrangement, a multilateral export control regime involving 42 countries, including the US, UK, Canada and Russia.

As counting continues in the US presidential election, Democratic candidate Joe Biden is ahead in some key battleground states and narrowing the gap with Republican president Donald Trump in Pennsylvania, which is a make-or-break state for both candidates.