US Blacklists Over 60 Chinese Firms in Latest Swipe at Beijing

Sanctioned companies includes China's top chipmaker maker, an industry the US Defense Department is looking to subsidize

The US added over 60 Chinese firms to a trade blacklist on Friday on the grounds of national security. The US claims the firms are linked to China’s military, and the list would require US exporters to obtain a license before selling anything to the companies.

Included on the list is SMIC, China’s top chipmaker. “Between SMIC’s relationships of concern with the military industrial complex, China’s aggressive application of military civil fusion mandates and state-directed subsidies, SMIC perfectly illustrates the risks of China’s leverage of US technology to support its military modernization,” US Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said in a statement.

Some have called into question the effectiveness of the trade blacklist, since apparently the Commerce Department usually grants licenses to companies who apply for them. On Thursday, Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL), a China hawk, sent a letter to the Commerce Department asking why US companies were granted licenses to sell semiconductors to the Chinese tech firm Huawei after it was blacklisted.

China hit back at the move, calling for dialogue instead of unilateral measures. “We need to replace sanctions with dialogue and consultation,” China’s State Councillor and foreign minister Wang Yi said. “China is not a threat to the United States — was not, is not and will not be a threat.”

The blacklisting of China’s leading semiconductor manufacturer comes while the US Defense Department is looking to bolster the industry. American semiconductor companies currently rely on manufacturers in Taiwan and South Korea. According to a posting on a US government contracting site, the Pentagon is looking to provide incentives for the domestic development of semiconductors.

The move against the Chinese firms is the latest in a series of anti-China measures from the Trump administration. On Thursday, the US Energy Department enacted an order banning US electric utility firms that work on defense facilities from importing certain power system items from China.

Author: Dave DeCamp

Dave DeCamp is the news editor of, follow him on Twitter @decampdave.