China launches WTO dispute over US chip sanctions

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US export controls aim to restrict China’s ability to buy and manufacture high-end chips with military applications – Copyright AFP/File JENS SCHLUETER

China has filed a dispute with the World Trade Organization over US restrictions on chip exports, Beijing’s Ministry of Commerce said in a statement late Monday, accusing Washington of threatening global supply chains.

The United States announced new export controls in October aimed at restricting China’s ability to buy and manufacture high-end chips with military applications, complicating Beijing’s push to promote its own semiconductor industry and develop advanced military systems.

The measures include restrictions on the export of some chips used in supercomputing, as well as stricter requirements for the sale of semiconductor equipment.

The goal is to prevent China’s military, intelligence and security services from acquiring “sensitive technologies with military applications,” the US Commerce Department said in October.

But China’s Ministry of Commerce on Monday accused the United States of “obstructing normal international trade in goods, including chips, and threatening the stability of the global industrial supply chain,” as well as violating international trade rules and engaging in “protective practices”.

The WTO dispute is aimed at upholding China’s “legitimate rights and interests,” the ministry said in its statement, urging Washington to “give up zero-sum thinking.”

The two superpowers have long clashed over a variety of issues including technology, trade, Hong Kong, Taiwan and human rights.

Chinese leader Xi Jinping and US President Joe Biden pledged to repair frayed relations at a summit in Bali, Indonesia last month.

Days before the latest chip checks, the Pentagon added 13 more Chinese companies, including drone maker DJI and surveillance company Zhejiang Dahua Technology, to a blacklist of military-linked entities.

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