One of China’s most prominent trade groups has made the Chinese commerce ministry launch an official trade dispute at the World Trade Organization against the United States over its chip export control measures.
Since October this year, the U.S. has passed several sweeping regulations and measures that are directly aimed at isolating China from the global semiconductor industry. These regulations include asking the Netherlands to ban certain companies from supplying Chinese manufacturers and companies with licenses and machinery required to manufacture silicon chips.
“China takes legal actions within the WTO framework as a necessary way to address our concerns and to defend our legitimate interests,” read a statement released by China’s diplomatic mission in Geneva on behalf of the Chinese commerce ministry. It also added that the curbs by the U.S. “threatened the stability of the global industrial supply chains.”
“We have received a request for consultations from the (People’s Republic of China) related to certain U.S. actions affecting semiconductors,” said Adam Hodge, spokesperson for U.S. Trade Representative’s office.
The so-called consultation request is the first step in a lengthy procedure at the global trade body. The United States has blocked appointments to the WTO’s top ruling body on trade disputes, meaning some rows never get settled.
“As we have already communicated to the People’s Republic of China, these targeted actions relate to national security, and the WTO is not the appropriate forum to discuss issues related to national security,” Hodge said in an emailed statement.
China’s complaint on U.S. chip export curbs comes days after a WTO ruling against Washington in a separate suit about metal tariffs brought by China, among others. The United States, a regular critic of the WTO’s arbitration proceedings, rejected the WTO’s findings.