US will ‘absolutely’ hit Chinese companies if they violate export controls in Russia, Raimondo says

Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo testifies before a Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice, Science and Related Agencies hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC, U.S., February 1, 2022. Andrew Harnik/Pool via REUTERS

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WASHINGTON, March 23 (Reuters) – The United States will “absolutely” enforce export controls if Chinese companies ship semiconductors to Russia made with American technology, a move that “essentially could shut them down,” Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo said on Wednesday. . .

Raimondo reiterated US threats to punish any company from any country that violates the strict export controls the US has imposed on Russia for its invasion of Ukraine.

Raimondo said all Chinese semiconductor companies relied on US software to make their chips, making them subject to controls. “If we find out that they’re selling chips to Russia, then we can essentially shut them down by denying them the use of that software, and we’re absolutely prepared to do that,” he told Reuters in an interview.

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President Joe Biden plans to announce a new package of sanctions against Russian political figures and oligarchs during emergency talks this week in Brussels with European and NATO leaders, national security adviser Jake Sullivan said on Wednesday. Read more

The United States and its allies are seeking to increase pressure on Russian President Vladimir Putin to stop the war, which Russia is calling a “special military operation.”

They are particularly concerned about China’s relationship with Russia, its failure to condemn the invasion, and US reports that Beijing is willing to provide military assistance to Moscow, all items on the agenda during Biden’s meetings.

Beijing has called the sanctions imposed on Russia increasingly outrageous, though it has raised concerns about the war. Read more

Raimondo said the United States was monitoring possible violations of its extensive export controls in Russia “hour by hour, minute by minute” and would crack down on any violations by any country as they occurred.

Asked if Chinese companies were violating controls so far, Raimondo said no, but noted that the Commerce Department does not disclose investigations or enforcement actions before they are completed.

The former venture capitalist and Rhode Island governor said Washington expected China to comply because the consequences would be severe and could affect any company, including Chinese semiconductor maker Semiconductor Manufacturing International Corp (SMIC).

Raimondo said he mentioned SMIC in an interview with the New York Times earlier this month as an example of companies that could be affected, and should have said “company XYZ” instead. But she denied that she was softening the threat.

“I’m not going to back down. I’m very consistent and clear,” Raimondo said.

He said the unprecedented breadth of concerted Western action against Russia could not go unnoticed by Beijing, pointing to recent US deals on steel and aluminum with the European Union, Britain and Japan that aim to crack down on the Chinese overcapacity.

“What we’re seeing now are really unprecedented levels of cooperation between the United States and our like-minded allies,” Raimondo said. “I’m sure China realizes that the United States is strong and that our relationship with our partners is stronger than it has been in a long time.”

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Information from Andrea Shalal; Edited by Rosalba O’Brien

Our standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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