U.S. eyes restricting chip equipment and other exports

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The United States is considering new restrictions on exports of semiconductor manufacturing equipment and associated software tools, lasers, sensors, and other technology to prevent them from falling into the hands of U.S. adversaries like China.

The U.S. Commerce Department said in a posting on a government website on Wednesday it was seeking public input on how to define new technologies as it determines “whether there are specific foundational technologies that warrant more restrictive controls” in the export process.

The Trump administration has restricted technology exports to Chinese companies in particular, notably telecommunications company Huawei Technologies, citing national security.

The Trump administration said the emerging technologies could be used the militaries of adversaries such as “China, Russia or Venezuela.”

Last year the administration was finalizing a set of narrow rules to limit exports of products like quantum computing and 3-D printing technologies.

The public comment period, which is expected to draw interest from industry seeking to protect its technological advantages, will close in 60 days after its scheduled publication in the Federal Register tomorrow, the Commerce Department said.

Reporting by Mike Stone in Washington,; Editing by Alistair Bell