US undecided on further Chinese minimum wage restriction: Reuters, citing sources

A logo atop the headquarters of Semiconductor Manufacturing International Corp. (SMIC) in Shanghai, China on Tuesday, March 23, 2021.

Qilai Shen | Bloomberg | Getty Images

The Biden administration has yet to decide whether or not to block sales of U.S. technology to Chinese chipmaker SMIC, but has raised the possibility of discussing with its allies further restrictions on the sale of chipmaking equipment to China, sources close to a meeting Thursday on the matter said.

Officials at the meeting of deputies from various US agencies discussed a proposal to boost sales to the SMIC and other chipmakers in China, the sources said. Officials appeared to agree that the United States should work with friendly countries on a more restrictive policy, a source said.

A White House spokesperson declined to comment.

The Trump administration put Semiconductor Manufacturing International Corp (SMIC) on the U.S. Department of Commerce’s blacklist late last year over concerns over SMIC aid to the Chinese military.

The list, which requires U.S. suppliers to obtain a license before shipping chipmaking equipment and other products, allows most sales to be decided on a case-by-case basis. However, equipment that can only be used to make the most advanced chips, 10 nanometers and smaller, is subject to more stringent standards and is likely to be refused.

The envisaged policy change would limit sales of items that could also be used for less advanced chips.

However, chip equipment makers argue that if the minimum wage is not provided by U.S. equipment makers, the company will buy from other countries.

Reuters reported that applications for an export license for the minimum wage were already slow to be approved.

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