U.S. Commerce Secretary Raimondo Doubles Down on Biden Plan to Restrict American Companies, and Citizens, From Helping China Make Semiconductor Chips

Adam Galica | CNBC
  • Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo defended the Biden administration's ban against U.S. companies and citizens helping China manufacture semiconductors.
  • Raimondo said the new regulations are not designed to hurt U.S. companies, though some will be denied some revenue.
  • The new rules were introduced early last month.

U.S. Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo doubled down on the Biden administration's controversial plan to ban U.S. companies, and citizens, from helping China manufacture advanced semiconductor chips, saying: "We have to protect the American people against China. Period. Full stop."

"China has become more aggressive in what they call their military-civil fusion strategy, which is essentially fancy talk for buying our sophisticated chips, which are supposedly for commercial purposes," Raimondo said in an interview Thursday with CNBC's Jim Cramer. China, however, is using those chips in military equipment that U.S. officials worry could be used against America, she said. "This is the most strategic, most bold move we've ever made to say no, we're not going to stand for that."

In October, the Biden administration imposed export restrictions on semiconductors manufactured in China by U.S. companies. The administration has also called on U.S. allies to issue similar restrictions. "I think you'll see other countries follow us," she said.

U.S. chipmakers will have to obtain a license from the Commerce Department to export certain chips that can be used in modern weapons systems. Commerce also issued license restrictions barring U.S. citizens from working for China's chip manufacturing industry, putting their U.S. citizenship at risk.

Raimondo says the new rule is "necessary" despite denying some revenue to some U.S. companies."

The Commerce secretary added that the regulations are not designed to punish U.S. businesses.

"This is targeted. We didn't do this on day one. We've been working on this for a year. It is powerful, but it's also targeted to get the national security job done and not punish U.S. companies," Raimondo said.

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