Commerce Secretary Cools Fears After China Chip Release

( – U.S. Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo suggested that despite the launch of a new Mate 60 Pro phone from Huawei, the U.S. sanctions China regarding the sale of advanced chip technology are working, as the technology powering the phone is years behind U.S. technology.

Huawei was added to the restricted list of companies forbidden from receiving exports of advanced superconductor technology or chips produced with it in 2019. The release of a new phone in August 2023 surprised U.S. observers. The Huawei Mate 60 Pro was emblematic of China’s attempt to build up their own chip manufacturing capabilities.

The phone was also released during a visit to the communist country by Raimondo, leading some to conclude that the timing was intended to slight the Commerce Secretary during an official state visit. Raimondo contradicted those claims during an interview on CBS’ “60 Minutes.”

She told interviewer Lesley Stahl that the chip powering the phone was inferior to U.S. technology adding that the U.S. is still the world leader in semiconductor technology and the manufacturing of advanced computer chips.

The conversation is emblematic of the ongoing struggle between Washington and Beijing over advancements in technology. Washington is concerned that Beijing could use U.S. products to threaten the security of other nations. The issue was discussed in D.C. before Huawei was added to the restricted list over concerns China could weaponize backdoor access to its phones.

Intel and many other U.S. suppliers have continued to receive licenses to ship some technology overseas to Huawei, despite the restrictions. Huawei recently unveiled a new AI-powered laptop which is using an Intel core processor; the announcement upset many Republicans in Congress who are concerned about Chinese aggression.

The new Huawei phone led the Biden administration to review the technology that powered the device. That report hasn’t been publicly released, however.

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