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China has gone to the World Trade Organisation (WTO) to try and get it to intervene in the denial of chip-making equipment exports to China by the US, Japan and the Netherlands.

The three countries have agreed to ban exports to China of any equipment which could allow them to run processes capable of 14nm and below.

Yesterday the Chinese commerce ministry said the government was concerned about Japan’s export ban and said it should correct its “wrong practice”.

Last weekend, China’s foreign minister Qin Gang, met Japan’s foreign minister Yoshimasa Hayashi and tried to persuade him to that Japan should not back the ban. Qin argued that the US had ‘brutally suppressed’ Japan’s chip industry and was now trying to do the same thing to China.

Last December, China filed a complaint with the WTO about the US restrictions on chip-making technology but the US said that this was a matter of US national security because the technology could be used to make chips for military purposes and so fell outside the remit of the WTO.


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