WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The Biden administration plans next month to broaden curbs on U.S shipments to China of semiconductors used for artificial intelligence and chipmaking tools, several people familiar with the matter said.
The Commerce Department intends to publish new regulations based on restrictions communicated in letters earlier this year to three U.S. companies -- KLA Corp, Lam Research Corp and Applied Materials Inc, the people said, speaking on the condition of anonymity. The plan for new rules has not been previously reported.
The letters, which the companies publicly acknowledged, forbade them from exporting chipmaking equipment to Chinese factories that produce advanced semiconductors with sub-14 nanometer processes unless the sellers obtain Commerce Department licenses.
The rules would also codify restrictions in Commerce Department letters sent to Nvidia Corp and Advanced Micro Devices last month instructing them to halt shipments of several artificial intelligence computing chips to China unless they obtain licenses.
Some of the sources said the regulations would likely include additional actions against China. The restrictions could also be changed and the rules published later than expected.
So-called “is informed” letters allow the Commerce Department to bypass lengthy rule-writing processes to put controls in place quickly, but the letters only apply to the companies that receive them.
Turning the letters into rules would broaden their reach and could subject other U.S. companies producing similar technology to the restrictions. The regulations could potentially apply to companies trying to challenge Nvidia and AMD’s dominance in artificial intelligence chips.