US imposes new export controls for advanced semiconductors

US imposes new export controls for advanced semiconductors

The United States has taken new export controls on technologies that support the production of advanced semiconductors and gas turbine engines that it said are critical to national security.

The Commerce Department said that the devices that use these materials have a greater military potential because of the emerging technologies covered by the move, including gallium oxide and diamond.

In both the military and commercial contexts, technological advancements that allow technologies like semiconductors and engines to operate faster, more efficiently, longer and in more severe conditions can be game-changers, according to Commerce Under Secretary for Industry and Security Alan Estevez. We can make sure that our shared security objectives are met when we recognize the risks and benefits, and act in concert with our international partners. At the December 2021 meeting, 42 participating countries reached consensus to control four technologies. The US export controls cover a wider range of technologies, including additional equipment, software, and technology used to make semiconductors, than the international agreement.

Gallium oxide and diamond allow semiconductors to work under more severe conditions, such as higher voltages or higher temperatures. Commerce said that devices that use these materials have an increased military potential.

Controls include ECAD, a category of software tools used for validating integrated circuits or printed circuit boards that can advance many commercial as well as military applications, including defense and communications satellites, the department said.

In June 2021, the U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission concluded that the department was not doing enough to keep sensitive technology out of the hands of China's military. The report said that a lag in developing the list of emerging and foundational technologies, required by a 2018 law, could cause national security risks to be worsened.