China urges Japan not to disrupt chip industry after technology curbs take effect

BEIJING — China’s government appealed to Japan today not to disrupt the semiconductor industry after curbs on exports of Japanese chip-making technology took effect, adding to technology restrictions Washington and its allies have imposed on China on security grounds.

The Japanese restrictions that took effect Sunday limit Chinese access to tools for etching microscopically small circuits on advanced chips for smartphones, artificial intelligence and other applications. The Netherlands also joined the United States in limiting access to chipmaking tools that Washington says could be used to develop weapons.

“We are deeply dissatisfied and regret the act,” said a foreign ministry spokesperson, Mao Ning. She urged Japan to “prevent relevant measures from interfering with the normal semiconductor industry cooperation between the two countries.”

The ruling Communist Party has invested billions of dollars in building Chinese chip foundries but needs Western and Japanese technology to produce the most advanced chips. That threatens to delay Beijing’s efforts to develop tech industries.

The United States imposed curbs on Chinese access to chips and chipmaking technology under then-President Donald Trump in 2019. The Biden administration broadened those controls to block access to chip design and manufacturing tools.

Chinese leader Xi Jinping’s government has been slow to respond, possibly to avoid disrupting its fledgling tech industries. Last month, Beijing rattled Japanese and Korea chip manufacturers by announcing an export review process and possible restrictions for gallium and germanium, two metals used in making semiconductors.