US President Donald Trump’s administration is considering changing US regulations to allow it to block shipments of chips to Huawei Technologies (華為) from companies such as Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co (TSMC, 台積電), the world’s largest contract chipmaker, two sources familiar with the matter said.
New restrictions on commerce with China’s Huawei are among several options to be considered at high-level US meetings this week and next.
The chip proposal has been drafted, but its approval is far from certain, one of the sources said.
The measure would be a blow to the world’s No. 2 smartphone maker, as well as to TSMC, a major producer of chips for Huawei’s HiSilicon Technologies Co (海思半導體) unit and mobile phone rivals Apple Inc and Qualcomm Inc.
“What they’re trying to do is make sure that no chips go to Huawei that they can possibly control,” the second source said.
The US is trying to convince allies to exclude Huawei components from next-generation 5G networks on grounds its equipment could be used by China for spying.
Huawei has repeatedly denied the claim.
Under the draft proposal, the US government would force foreign companies that use US chipmaking equipment to seek a US license before supplying Huawei — a major expansion of export control authority that could anger US allies worldwide.
The US Department of Commerce declined to comment on the proposal.
However, a spokesman for the department said that US charges against Huawei, including conspiring to steal trade secrets, “reaffirm the need for caution in considering license applications. The US continues to have major concerns about Huawei.”
Huawei did not respond to requests for comment.
A spokeswoman for TSMC said the company does not answer “hypothetical” questions and does not comment on individual customers.
The US placed Huawei on a blacklist in May last year, citing national security concerns.
That forced some US and foreign companies to seek special licenses from the department to sell to it, but China hawks in the US government have been frustrated by the vast number of supply chains beyond their reach.
Others in the Trump administration fear antagonizing Beijing, which last month signed a trade deal with Washington.
They also worry the restrictions would drive innovation offshore and benefit foreign rivals.
Most chipmakers rely on equipment produced by US firms, such as KLA-Tencor Corp, Lam Research Corp and Applied Materials Inc, according to a report last year from China’s Everbright Securities Co (光大證券).
“There is no production line in China that uses only equipment made in China, so it is very difficult to make any chipsets without US equipment,” Everbright wrote.
See TAIEX on page 11
The number of people from Hong Kong applying for residency in Taiwan last year rose 41 percent from a year earlier to 5,858, National Immigration Agency statistics showed. The statistics also showed that 600 applications were filed by Hong Kong residents in the first quarter of this year — three times the number filed in the same period last year — with applicants apparently not deterred by the COVID-19 pandemic. Just one day after it was reported that the Chinese government plans to enact new national security laws in Hong Kong, inquiries regarding immigration to Taiwan grew 10-fold, a Hong Kong-based immigration
‘BEGINNING OF THE END’: Democracy advocate Joshua Wong urged Hong Kongers to stand up and fight, and let the Chinese government know that they will not cave Hong Kong protesters yesterday battled with riot police in busy downtown areas, showing their opposition toward China’s dramatic move to crack down on dissent in the biggest demonstration since the coronavirus swept through the territory in January. Police deployed a water cannon and fired tear gas in the Causeway Bay shopping area after hundreds of protesters had gathered to oppose new national security legislation from China. Police warned the crowd they were taking part in an illegal gathering, and later said in a statement that “rioters threw umbrellas, water bottles and other objects at them.” At least 120 people were arrested,
‘TAIWAN IS SAFE’: As there have been no new local cases for 42 days, people should feel free to travel around the nation — as long as they follow disease prevention rules No new cases of COVID-19 were reported yesterday and only 20 of the people hospitalized after testing positive are still being treated in hospitals, Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中) said yesterday in Pingtung County’s Kenting (墾丁) as he promoted a “new disease prevention lifestyle” for the nation. As yesterday was the 42nd consecutive day with no new domestic cases, and experts consider 28 consecutive days with no domestic case — the span of two incubation periods — a sign that a community is relatively safe, Taiwan is safe, said Chen, who heads the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC),
SMOOTHER TRANSIT: Japan Airlines reportedly planned to land the flight at Haneda Airport, but changed it to Narita for direct flights to Taiwan The Ministry of Foreign Affairs yesterday thanked Japan for allowing 94 Taiwanese on a chartered plane evacuating others stranded in Russia, where COVID-19 cases are rising and many international flights have been canceled. Ninety-four Taiwanese exchange students and expats, as well as two Russian spouses, arrived at Narita International Airport in Japan yesterday morning on a charter flight operated by Japan Airlines, before taking a transfer flight to Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport last night, ministry spokeswoman Joanne Ou (歐江安) said. As of press time last night, Russia had reported more than 362,000 cases of COVID-19, including more than 3,800 deaths. The government had