back to article The trade ban that wasn't: US allows 94% of restricted tech exports to China anyway

US Commerce Department can make all the noise it wants about limiting tech exports to China, but it is reportedly doing little to actual stem the flow of components and equipment. The Wall Street Journal said on Tuesday that efforts by Uncle Sam to prevent key technologies from falling into the hands of rogue foreign powers — …

  1. Denarius Silver badge

    no surprise

    "national security" or a few bucks. No contest.

    1. gandalfcn Silver badge

      Re: no surprise

      Not really "national security" either.

  2. deevee

    America couldn''t survive unless China manufactures its electronics.

    If they don't hand over the tech, they don't get their goodies.

    Imagine the uproar, if suddenly Americans couldn't buy an iphone, because they are all made in China!

    Even if they started making them in America again, the "don't care" US workforce would mean they fall apart in your hands, and cost 10 times as much!

  3. NeilPost


    Like many things, lots of shouty new laws or restrictions, but fuck all enforcement or available people to enforce meaning a waste of time.

    Don’t worry, some politician for a sound bite will be back with new tougher laws/restriction to sort ‘em out.

  4. sebacoustic

    El Reg PLEASE don't use that cogs stock photo any more

    It's offensive to anyone with an engineering mindset. Even as a humble software engineer it pains to see three cogs interlocking in a way that they will never turn.

    1. redpawn

      Re: El Reg PLEASE don't use that cogs stock photo any more

      Shhh! That was supposed to be a secret. Now the sensors might pick up on it.

    2. Ashentaine

      To be fair, it is a pretty accurate visual representation of international politics... there's always a third wheel somewhere getting in the way and jamming things up.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: El Reg PLEASE don't use that cogs stock photo any more

      > three cogs interlocking in a way that they will never turn.

      I assume that's precisely the point. Just because you have an "engineering mindset" it doesn't mean you can't understand irony.

  5. clyde666

    rogue ???

    "rogue foreign powers — China in particular "

    I can understand North Korea or Myanmar being called that, but China ?

    The last I heard China is a functioning part of the United Nations. There is at least one more powerful, richer country that only uses the UN when it's useful to them. The same major power country that began withholding huge amounts of its dues years ago and caused loads of trouble for the UN.

    It's pretty obvious that some countries are intent on going to war. I wish El Reg wasn't regurgitating the propaganda.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: rogue ???

      China has a veto on the UN Security Council which is a large contribution to it not functioning, particularly when it comes to the China's abuse of human rights, and attempt to annex vast areas of international waters and islands belonging to other nations.

      But I'm sure that post earned you another CN¥.

      1. jmch Silver badge

        Re: rogue ???

        Upvoted you, but wanted to point out that all the vetoes on the Security council make it particularly dysfunctional...

        ... US vetoing any attempt to give Israel a vague slap on the wrist or even a scolding word for the de-facto apartheid system in the west bank

        ... Russia being able to invade Ukraine without censure from UN

        ... China with Nepal and Uyghurs etc

        1. abstract

          Re: rogue ???

          The US don't care about the security council. They just use it to add some sort of legitimacy to what they want but they do without anyway.

          The invasion of Iraq was vetoed.

          Israel is just an extension of the US. Everything thing that is done by Israel is actually done by the US.

          People that saw what the US did in Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria, Palestine won't join you on Ukraine.

      2. fxkeh

        Re: rogue ???

        Can you mention some examples of China veto'ing security council resolutions? I can remember many instances of Russia doing it to protect Syria, and US protecting Isreal, but China?

      3. gandalfcn Silver badge

        Re: rogue ???

        I'm sure that post earned you another kiss and a brown envelope from the CIA or whoever.

        1949 Syrian coup d'état

        1949–1953 Albania

        1951–56 Tibet

        1953 Iranian coup d'état

        1954 Guatemalan coup d'état

        1956–57 Syria crisis

        1960 Congo coup d'état

        1961 Cuba, Bay of Pigs Invasion

        1961 Dominican Republic

        1963 South Vietnamese coup

        1964 Bolivian coup d'état

        1964 Brazilian coup d'état

        1966 Ghana coup d’état

        1967 US manufactured coup in Greece

        1971 Bolivian coup d'état

        1970–73 Chile

        1980 Turkish coup d'état

        1979–89 Afghanistan, Operation Cyclone

        1980 -1988 material support for Iraq against Iran

        1981–87 Nicaragua, Contras

        1983 Grenada

        1996 Iraq coup attempt

        2001 Afghanistan

        2003 to 2011 Iraq War

        2011 Libyan civil war

        2011–present Syria



        1. gandalfcn Silver badge

          Re: rogue ???

          Seems the downvoters don't like the facts. Tuff.

    2. Youngone Silver badge

      Re: rogue ???

      America needs to have an enemy. The cold war was great because the Soviet Union were big and scary and so America had to pour as much money as possible into ships and planes and stuff which made some people very rich.

      Iraq and Afghanistan were even better because soldiers could be send over to blow stuff up and it all looked great on the TV news, also America was not in any real danger.

      Now that that is all over a new enemy needs to be found to continue to justify the flow of money, and China is one of the possibilities except of course China is tied into the world's economy pretty thoroughly and a war isn't really possible with them.

      I'm sure this sabre-rattling will continue until a better target is discovered.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: rogue ???

        > America needs to have an enemy.

        According to the late semiotician Prof. Umberto Eco, everyone needs an enemy. As with much of his writing, there was much irony in that assertion, and a very amusing story about a cab ride in New York, but he made a series of very insightful points on his essay (as usual).¹

        ¹ Costruire il nemico e altri scritti occasionali, Bompiani Ed., 2011. There is an English translation, as "Inventing the Enemy".

    3. martinusher Silver badge

      Re: rogue ???

      China's only a 'rouge nation' because our political machine and its propaganda arm have deemed it so. In real life there's a huge flow of commerce between China and the US which mostly benefits the US rather than China. Choking it off would cause serious disruptions in the US which would get the politicians leaned on very hard by their sponsors. So we have form over function. Surprised?

      The thing is, while we're faffing around playing games with 'sanction of the week' China is just moving right along, doing its thing, sorting out answers to our annoyances (7nM anyone?) and so the gap between 'us' and 'them' keeps widening. Its now at the point where if I had to choose between 'the west' and China I'd probably bet on China (obviously I can't because my government in its infinite wisdom has banned me from investing in China -- this being a bit of a boon to a country that's got a surplus of capital that needs investing)(our legislators can't get it into their thick heads that depriving China of the latest smartphone chips is hardly going to slow them down, its just going to annoy them and give them a national goal to go for.)

  6. Lordrobot


    The Great Decoupling is on every social media soapbox in the USA and UK... It is even on Amazon where reviewers grouse and say "I Don't Buy Chinese JUNK" But your modem and smartphone are made in China as are 98% of your power and manual hand tools... The Great cry to become Amish... Your kids don't need those fancy drones... give them 1930-style MURICAN wood toys where they can use their imaginations.

    These arguments always convert downward to complaints about AMAZON, WALMART etc. as GLOBALISTS!

    Well, the government knows you are idiots. What they say to you and what they do are two different things. Why should the US damage Qualcomm for some rednecks in Arkansas that carve wood toys? But they need the dope's votes. Just like Tommy Tuberville or whatever he's named... "I hates China... Chiner is bad... Decouple" Meanwhile this sport is buying Alibaba stock options. He knows you, he even talks Southen Fried Redneck for you... just for you... The more cornpone he feeds you the more he stuffs his pockets with insider trades.

    So get this down... POLITICIANS tell you what you want to hear. So you jump up and down screaming "That'll show CHINER!" Meanwhile, much smarter Qualcomm engineers don't end up on the breadlines and you get to carve your wood toys for your children, while Grandma buys them drones.

    Gee thanks for the wood truck.... dad

    "Hey Grandma can this drone drop bombs on that wood truck?"

    "I don't know... maybe we should go visit Uncle Ted Kazinski in prison and ask."

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      China is the new Japan.

      Remember those films from the 70s and 80s where people didn't buy Japanese?

  7. veti Silver badge


    Most licences applied for are granted.

    Isn't that a good thing? It suggests that people aren't wasting everyone's time by applying for licences that have no hope of being granted. The commerce dept gets to review everything and denies marginal calls...

    Sounds to me like a system working exactly as intended.

    I'm not saying that is necessarily the case. I'm saying there's only one piece of actual data presented in this story, and it proves precisely nothing.

    1. martinusher Silver badge

      Re: So?

      They're not reviewed if my experience is anything to go by. You have this flow of commerce between China and the US. Some politicians need to score points by making out that China's the Big Bad Wolf and needs to be slapped down. So the bureaucrats are charged with administering an ever growing list of technologies (none of which they seem to understand). The flow's too great -- if they did their job as the pols describe it all commerce would stop.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: So?

        > They're not reviewed if my experience is anything to go by.

        I remember my first time in Iran, having been briefed that my own company wouldn't pick up the support line if we called, because sanctions, and my surprise at seeing that everyone ran Windows computers. :)

        Yeah many were bootlegs, but ours weren't. Apparently Microsoft are always exempt from whatever "sanctions" the septics decide to impose, lest someone else filled the void and became a real competitor (cf. Huawei – which my autocorrect refuses to spell, amusingly)

    2. Nifty

      Re: So?

      A bit like the Japanese legal system then?

  8. joyful

    So, they are happy with EUV?

    >> In early July, the US reportedly began a pressure campaign in the hopes of convincing the Netherlands to block Dutch semiconductor equipment maker ASML from selling deep ultraviolet (DUV) lithography tech to China.

    >> DUV is previous-gen manufacturing tech, and has been superseded in recent years by extreme ultraviolet (EUV) lithography used to produce 7nm and smaller process nodes.

    So, does it mean that the US is happy with ASML giving out EUV tech to China or not? Because ASML seem to have a near monopoly on that as well

    1. diodesign (Written by Reg staff) Silver badge

      Re: So, they are happy with EUV?

      America doesn't want EUV or DUV machines going into China.


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