BEIJING (Reuters) – China opposes discriminatory practices by the United States against Chinese companies, the foreign ministry said on Wednesday, after the U.S. commerce department said an advanced phone chip made by Huawei may violate trade restrictions.
Smartphone manufacturer Huawei recently started selling its Mate 60 Pro phone containing a chip that analysts believe was made with a technology breakthrough by Chinese chip foundry Semiconductor Manufacturing International Corp (SMIC).
The Commerce Department said this month it is working to obtain more information “on the character and composition” of the chip that may violate trade restrictions since it said it must have been made with U.S. technology.
On Tuesday, U.S. Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo told a U.S. House hearing that the U.S. has no evidence that Huawei can produce smartphones with advanced chips in large volume, and that she was upset by a report that Huawei was able to produce an advanced smartphone.
In response, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Mao Ning said China “opposed the U.S. generalising the concept of national security”.
“Such discriminatory and unfair practices against Chinese companies undermine the principles of free trade and international economic and trade rules, and disrupt the stability of the global production and supply chain,” she added.
China and the United States are locked in an ongoing battle over semiconductor technology.
Washington is considering new restrictions on sales of artificial intelligence microchips, following a sweeping set of export controls last year to cut China off from certain semiconductor chips made anywhere in the world with U.S. equipment.
(Reporting by Liz Lee, Ethan Wang and Bernard Orr; Editing by Christian Schmollinger and Miral Fahmy)