US puts Chinese firms helping military on trade blacklist

Published November 25, 2021
Chinese and US flags flutter outside a company building in Shanghai, China. — Reuters/File
Chinese and US flags flutter outside a company building in Shanghai, China. — Reuters/File

WASHINGTON: The US government put a dozen Chinese companies on its trade blacklist on Wednesday for national security and foreign policy concerns, citing in some cases their help developing the Chinese military’s quantum computing efforts.

The department also said several entities and individuals from China and Pakistan were added to the Commerce Department’s Entity List for contributing to Pakistan’s nuclear activities or ballistic missile programme.

The latest US action on Chinese companies comes amid growing tensions between Beijing and Washington over the status of Taiwan and trade issues.

In total, 27 new entities were added to the list from China, Japan, Pakistan, and Singapore. Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo said in a statement that the new listings will help prevent US technology from supporting the development of Chinese and Russian “military advancement and activities of non-proliferation concern like Pakistan’s unsafeguarded nuclear activities or ballistic missile program”. China’s embassy in Washington did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The Commerce Department said Hangzhou Zhongke Microelectronics Co Ltd, Hunan Goke Microelectronics , New H3C Semiconductor Technologies Co Ltd, Xi’an Aerospace Huaxun Technology and Yunchip Microelectronics were placed on the Commerce Department’s entity list for their “support of the military modernisation of the People’s Liberation Army”. It also added Hefei National Laboratory for Physical Sciences at Microscale, QuantumCTek and Shanghai QuantumCTeck Co Ltd to the list for “acquiring and attempting to acquire US-origin items in support of military applications”.

The eight Chinese firms were listed to prevent US technology being used to help China develop quantum computing applications for its military.

The Commerce Department wants to stop the Chinese military from developing its counter-stealth technology, which could include equipment like advanced radars, and counter-submarine applications such as undersea sensors. The action also blocks US material from being used to help China break encryption or develop unbreakable encryption, the Commerce Department said.

Suppliers to companies on the entity list will need to apply for a licence before they can sell to them, which is likely to be denied.

Separately, the Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology was added to the Commerce Department’s military end user list, but the listing did not provide additional information other than it had produced military products.

Published in Dawn, November 25th, 2021

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