Biden administration expects deal with allies on China export curbs soon

FILE PHOTO: Illustration picture of semiconductor chips on a circuit board
Semiconductor chips are seen on a circuit board of a computer in this illustration picture taken February 25, 2022. REUTERS/Florence Lo/Illustration

WASHINGTON, Oct 27 (Reuters) - The Biden administration expects to ink a deal with allies in the near-term to bring them on board with new U.S. rules curbing China's access to sophisticated chipmaking tools, a senior Commerce Department official said on Thursday.

This month, the Commerce Department published a sweeping set of export controls, including measures tightly restricting Chinese access to U.S. chipmaking technology, vastly expanding its reach in its bid to slow Beijing's technological and military advances.

But it faced criticism for failing to convince key allies to put in place similar equipment curbs, since Japanese and Dutch firms Tokyo Electron Ltd (8035.T) and ASML Holding NV (ASML.AS), along with U.S. companies, produce chipmaking equipment.

"We expect to have a deal in the near term," Undersecretary of commerce for industry and security Alan Estevez said in an interview with Washington-based think tank CNAS, when asked what it would take to get allies, particularly Japan and the Netherlands, to implement similar rules.

When asked what parts of the sprawling new China export rule could be included in a deal with allies, Estevez said "we're looking at the whole gamut," including chips as well as tools.

The rule also cuts China off from certain semiconductor chips made anywhere in the world with U.S. equipment. Estevez said countries could receive carveouts from the U.S. rules if they implement similar regimes at home.

Reporting by Alexandra Alper and Karen Freifeld; Editing by Josie Kao

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