U.S. chip lobby presses Biden to refrain from further China curbs

By Stephen Nellis, Karen Freifeld and Andrea Shalal

(Reuters) – The U.S.-based Semiconductor Industry Association trade group on Monday called on the Biden administration to “refrain from further restrictions” on chip sales to China as chief executives from the biggest U.S. semiconductor firms planned to visit Washington this week to press their views on China policy.

The statement came as the Biden administration considers updating a sweeping set of rules imposed in October to hobble China’s chip industry and a new executive order restricting some outbound investment.

Reuters reported last week that the chief executives of Intel Corp and Qualcomm Inc planned to meet with government officials to discuss their views on China policy.

The statement also comes after China moved to restrict exports of raw materials such as gallium and germanium that are used in making chips. The industry group said that further rule-tightening by U.S. officials risks “disrupting supply chains, causing significant market uncertainty, and prompting continued escalatory retaliation by China.”

The industry group said it wants “the administration to refrain from further restrictions until it engages more extensively with industry and experts to assess the impact of current and potential restrictions to determine whether they are narrow and clearly defined, consistently applied, and fully coordinated with allies.”

A spokesperson for the U.S. National Security Council said the rules have been designed to ensure that U.S. technologies are not used in ways that undermine the country’s national security.

“We have been deliberate about getting this right, including through extensive public comment on regulations, and through intensive coordination with allies and partners, the Hill, industry, and other stakeholders,” the spokesperson said in a statement.

(Reporting by Stephen Nellis in San Francisco and Karen Freifeld in New York and Andrea Shalal in Washington, Editing by Nick Zieminski)