US government reinforces Huawei chip embargo

August 18, 2020 //By Peter Clarke
US government says Huawei can't have chips…from anybody
The US government has increased the pressure on China's Huawei with a further expansion of the limitations imposed on the communications giant that had been increased in May.

The Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) in the Department of Commerce added another 38 companies affiliated to Huawei to its 'Entity List' and further restricted access to items produced using US technology and software.

The narrow nature of the semiconductor development and supply chain means that almost all leading-edge digital chips are designed using EDA software from US companies Cadence and Synopsys and all manufacturing lines will have some US chipmaking equipment. Companies will not be licensed to receive any such chips, the DoC said.

In May the BIS had clearly marked out Huawei's use of TSMC as a foundry to make chips it had designed (see US tightens restrictions on Huawei's chip supply). Making use of a grace period of 120 days for work in progress to move through the wafer fabs TSMC has said it will stop supplying chips to Huawei from September 15 (see US embargo causes Huawei to run out of Kirin processors).

This has caused Huawei to consider using third-party chips such as those made by Qualcomm or MediaTek for its mobilephones, even though such companies are also only allowed to supply to companies on the entity list with a US license. The DoC has interpreted this as seeking to circumvent US policy.

"Huawei and its foreign affiliates have extended their efforts to obtain advanced semiconductors developed or produced from U.S. software and technology in order to fulfill the policy objectives of the Chinese Communist Party," said Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, in a statement. “As we have restricted its access to U.S. technology, Huawei and its affiliates have worked through third parties to harness U.S. technology in a manner that undermines U.S. national security and foreign policy interests. This multi-pronged action demonstrates our continuing commitment to impede Huawei’s ability to do so."

Related links and articles:

Apple supplier denies human rights abuses, calls for listing reversal

US tightens restrictions on Huawei's chip supply

US embargo causes Huawei to run out of Kirin processors


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