US bars Chinese supercomputer companies with military applications from buying American parts

Reuters Washington, District of Columbia, United States of America Jun 21, 2019, 10.09 PM(IST)

File photo. Photograph:( Reuters )

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The department said it was adding Sugon, the Wuxi Jiangnan Institute of Computing Technology, Higon, Chengdu Haiguang Integrated Circuit and Chengdu Haiguang Microelectronics Technology to the list on concerns about military applications of the supercomputers.

The US Commerce Department said on Friday it was adding several Chinese companies and a government-owned institute involved in supercomputing with military applications to its national security "entity list" that bars them from buying US parts and components without government approval.

The announcement adding them to what is effectively a trade blacklist is the latest effort by the Trump administration to restrict the ability of Chinese firms to gain access to US technology.

The department said it was adding Sugon, the Wuxi Jiangnan Institute of Computing Technology, Higon, Chengdu Haiguang Integrated Circuit and Chengdu Haiguang Microelectronics Technology, along with numerous aliases of the five entities to the list on concerns about military applications of the supercomputers they are developing.

Wuxi Jiangnan Institute of Computing Technology is owned by the 56th Research Institute of the General Staff of China’s People’s Liberation Army, the Commerce Department said, adding "its mission is to support China’s military modernization."

In 2015, the Commerce Department added China's National University of Defense Technology (NUDT) to the list "because of its use of US-origin multicores, boards, and (co)processors to power supercomputers believed to support nuclear explosive simulation and military simulation activities."

The Commerce Department said on Friday that since 2015 NUDT has procured items under the name Hunan Guofang Kei University using four separate, additional addresses not already on the entity list. The department is adding Hunan Guofang and the four addresses to the list.

The companies "pose a significant risk of being or becoming involved in activities contrary to the national security and foreign policy interests of the United States," the Commerce Department said.

The Trump administration had added China’s Huawei Technologies Co Ltd to the entity list and 68 affiliates in more than two dozen countries.

The action comes as the world’s two largest economies ratchet up tariffs in a battle over what US officials call China’s unfair trade practices.