Commerce Department Commissions Survey of U.S. Companies to Create Trusted Legacy Chip Supply

Secretary Raimondo and her team have closed out 2023 with welcome action to stem the tide of a China-dominated legacy space.In early December, China Tech Threat commended the Commerce Department for directing the first allocation of CHIPS Act funding to support domestic production of semiconductors. Then, on December 21, the Commerce Department announced that it would commission a survey asking U.S. companies to report how they source legacy chips—the chips which are essential to the functioning of virtually every single electronic device. “Legacy chips are essential to supporting critical U.S. industries, like telecommunications, automotive and the defense industrial base. Addressing non-market actions by foreign governments that threaten the U.S. legacy chip supply chain is a matter of national security,”… Read More

Actions Speak Louder than Words—So Where’s the Action from the Commerce Department?

“Actions speak louder than words” was the refrain from Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo on CBS’ Face the Nation last Sunday. Raimondo is referring to what she hopes to see from the Chinese government following her meetings in Beijing last week—not just promises of change, but concrete steps. The world shouldn’t hold its breath waiting for them.The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) can’t be trusted to uphold its promises—just ask the citizens of Hong Kong, who have seen their autonomy revoked in the last several years. Or maybe President Obama, to whom Xi Jinping made promises in 2015 that the CCP would stop militarizing the South China Sea. Or other nations in Asia, which are recently outraged after China released a… Read More

Ca$h Over Country: Biden Administration Must Stop U.S. American Chipmaker

With Secretary of Commerce Raimondo visiting China this weekend, Dr. Roslyn Layton penned an op-ed for the National Security Institute demanding the Biden Administration stop American semiconductor equipment manufacturers from profiting on the Chinese legacy chip sector. Rather than seek new economic cooperation with China, Dr. Layton argues the Secretary should be focused on preventing the sale of some of the world’s most sensitive tech equipment to legacy chipmakers.The problem is that three American companies – Applied Materials, KLA, and Lam Research – have made billions selling their chipmaking tools, including for legacy chips, to China. Dr. Layton notes:“As can be documented from public data, these three companies have grown their combined revenues from China by 102% between… Read More

CHIPS Act Anniversary: Must Play Offense and Defense

Today, in honor of the first anniversary of the CHIPS Act, Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo said, “The CHIPS for America program is a historic opportunity to solidify America’s leadership and protect national security.”Yes, the CHIPS Act is an important step in developing our own capabilities, but to be successful, we need to play offense and defense. Former Pentagon Chinese tech advisor Steve Coonen makes this point in the video below.Coonen cautions that we shouldn’t assist adversaries like China by supplying them with the semiconductor manufacturing equipment that they need to boost their own capabilities. For China, the ultimate aim is to dominate the global semiconductor market. We’ve seen this playbook before. China will subsidize and dominate – just… Read More

Biden Administration Finally Acknowledges Legacy Chips; Will Action Follow Soon Enough?

Up to this point, the U.S. has been laser focused on squeezing China’s ability to acquire and manufacture advanced semiconductors. Legacy semiconductors were not in their purview. That seems to be changing as Bloomberg reports that the U.S. and Europe are now “growing alarmed by China’s rush into legacy chips.”This encouraging development comes on the heels of comments by Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo at a recent AEI event, where she acknowledged China’s massive investment in legacy chips, called it a problem, and said the U.S. and its allies need to get ahead of it. We’ve written extensively on the value of legacy chips, which are critical to national security and many other purposes. To put it plainly, U.S. policy shouldn’t focus exclusively on one… Read More

Scratching the Surface on Legacy Chips

During Wednesday night’s Select Committee on the CCP hearing on “Ensuring U.S. Leadership in the Critical and Emerging Technologies of the 21st Century” Lindsay Gorman from The German Marshall Fund raised an important point. She said we must look at the CHIPS Act as a start of America’s recovery of strength in the semiconductor space, not an isolated initiative. Acknowledging that technology isn’t static, she said “we need a continuous iterative process where we evaluate to the best of our ability, what are the critical technologies of the future of the next 5, 10, 15 years? Where is China leading? Where are we leading?” Right now, America risks ceding the future of legacy semiconductors. When it comes to semiconductors, the U.S. government… Read More

Challenges Still Loom Large on the Eve of the CHIPS Act One Year Anniversary

On August 9th of last year, President Biden signed the CHIPS and Science Act to restore American semiconductor manufacturing. Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo described the impetus in response to China’s ominous ambitions:Over the past decade, China’s leaders have made clear that they do not plan to pursue political and economic reform and are instead pursuing an alternative vision of their country’s future… [T]hey are accelerating their efforts to fuse their economic and technology policies with their military ambitions. … Semiconductors are ground-zero…As we approach the one-year anniversary, four challenges remain paramount: #1. U.S. Export Controls Still Ignore Legacy Chinese Manufacturers Legacy (or mature) chips are critical to defense systems, critical infrastructure, automobiles, medical devices, consumer electronics, and other… Read More

Why BIS Should Put Components for Legacy Semiconductors Under Export Controls

By Steve CoonenLast week, Chairman Mike Gallagher of the House Select Committee on the Chinese Communist Party spoke a plain truth: “Every foreign business that enters China takes on a sometimes silent, sometimes not-so-silent business partner: the Chinese Communist Party.” This reality continues to play out in the legacy semiconductor space. The more that American companies are allowed to sell components and manufacturing equipment for legacy chips to China, the more power the CCP will acquire to shape American national and economic security. When it comes to focusing on the danger of advanced or legacy Chinese chips, the U.S. government should reject a false choice of “either/or.” It must embrace a “both/and” concept and act to prevent a looming… Read More

Washington State Spending More than $11 Million on Dangerous Chinese Technology Puts Security at Risk

U.S. Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo’s latest comments about the threats posed by Chinese technology companies are yet another reminder that these threats are real.  Now more than ever it is important for states to take action, especially in Washington where the Office of the Secretary of State is one of many agencies spending millions on dangerous Chinese technology.  China Tech Threat’s (CTT) recent report revealed that the state of Washington spent $11,131,168 on restricted Chinese technology from Lexmark and Lenovo between 2016 and 2023. Our Washington fact sheet shows the Joint Legislative Systems Committee, the Administrative Office of the Courts, the Department of Revenue, and the Office of the Secretary of State are all departments that have purchased this technology,… Read More

CTT Issues Memo In Advance of BIS Oversight Hearing: What is the Commerce Department’s Export Control Policy?

In advance of Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) Under Secretary Alan Estevez’s appearance before the U.S. Senate Banking Committee July 14 hearing on export controls, China Tech Threat issued a memo to congressional staff and interested parties on BIS’ failure to apply China-related export controls. The memo highlights the potential dissonance between Estevez’s stated long-term priority to “stop [China] from using our technology against us” and Secretary Raimondo’s assertion that “selling a commodity product to a Chinese company is in and of itself not problematic.” It also poses a set of key questions that would help clarify Commerce Department’s position on employing China-focused export controls: Does the Commerce Department plan to impose export controls in response to the threat from YMTC? If not, why… Read More