Two members of Congress, Senator Tom Cotton and Rep. Michael McCaul, are calling on the Commerce Department to prevent American companies from selling semiconductor design software to Chinese firms. Although semiconductors are important to China, as the country imported more than $300 billion worth of chips last year, the members of Congress, in their letter to Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo, called for any factory worldwide that uses American tools to be prevented from selling chips worth 14 nm or better to Chinese companies. The congressmen also called for Electronic Design Automation (EDA) tools designated as “foundational technologies” by the Department of Commerce.
If the US government excludes Chinese companies from EDA tools, it would have a significant impact on the country, given that the country lags behind in the semiconductor industry. Chinese semiconductor manufacturers rely almost exclusively on foreign tools and software, and the country’s EDA software lags eight to ten years behind. There are EDA companies outside the US, but American companies are particularly dominant, with companies like Cadence Design Systems and Synopsys controlling about 90 percent of the market by some estimates.
For more information, read the <a href=”https://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/2021/04/china-shouldnt-get-us-semiconductor-design-software-congressmen-say/” target=”_blank” rel=”noopener”>original story</a> in Arstechnica