The United States has started to impose restrictions on exports to China’s biggest chip maker SMIC after concluding there is an “unacceptable risk” equipment supplied to it could be used for military purposes.

Suppliers of certain equipment to Semiconductor Manufacturing International Corporation will now have to apply for individual export licenses, according to a letter from the Commerce Department dated Friday and seen by Reuters.

The latest move marks a shift in U.S. policy from earlier this year, when applicants seeking “military end user” licenses to sell to SMIC were told by the Commerce Department that the licenses weren’t necessary, according to three people familiar with the matter.

SMIC said it had not received any official notice of the restrictions and said it has no ties with the Chinese military.

“SMIC reiterates that it manufactures semiconductors and provides services solely for civilian and commercial end-users and end-uses,” SMIC said. (Source : economictimes.com)

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