China announced on Monday that it will impose export controls on certain metals widely used in the semiconductor industry, escalating the ongoing battle over access to high-tech microchips between China and the United States. The new controls will require exporters to obtain permission to ship specific gallium and germanium products. China stated that the measures are aimed at protecting national security and interests.
This move by China comes as the United States reportedly considers implementing new restrictions on the shipment of high-tech microchips to China. Additionally, the United States and the Netherlands are planning to further limit sales of chipmaking equipment to Chinese companies in an effort to prevent the technology from being utilized for military purposes.
The export controls imposed by China, which will take effect from August 1, will apply to several gallium-related products, including gallium antimonide, gallium arsenide, gallium metal, gallium nitride, gallium oxide, gallium phosphide, gallium selenide, and indium gallium arsenide. Furthermore, they will also apply to six germanium products, including germanium dioxide, germanium epitaxial growth substrate, germanium ingot, germanium metal, germanium tetrachloride, and zinc germanium phosphide.
Exporters will be required to obtain export licenses through the prescribed procedures, and those found exporting these products without permission or exceeding the permitted volumes will face penalties, according to China’s commerce ministry.
Germanium, in addition to its use in the semiconductor industry, is also utilized in infrared technology, fiber optic cables, and solar cells.