The Trump administration is considering adding SMIC to the so-called Entity List, which would restrict the Chinese foundry’s access to US technology and services. A US government spokesman confirmed to several media that the Department of Defence is “assessing available information to determine if SMIC’s actions warrant adding them to the Department of Commerce’s Entity List,” but didn’t explain why. The Wall Street Journal and Reuters have reported the DoD suspects SMIC of having ties with the Chinese military. The foundry has released a statement denying that.
Though still several technology nodes behind TSMC and Samsung, SMIC is often seen as a key player in China’s ambitions to become self-sufficient in semiconductor technology. Like most chip manufacturers, however, SMIC relies on American companies for key production equipment. Previously, the US also pressured the Dutch government into blocking shipment of an ASML EUV scanner to SMIC. It doesn’t look like that decision will be reversed any time soon.