HomePoliticsUS lawmakers angry after Huawei unveils laptop with new Intel AI chip

US lawmakers angry after Huawei unveils laptop with new Intel AI chip

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Republican U.S. lawmakers criticized the Biden administration on Friday after sanctioned Chinese telecom equipment giant Huawei this week unveiled a laptop powered by an Intel AI chip.

The United States placed Huawei on a trade restriction list in 2019 for violating sanctions on Iran, part of a broader effort to hamper Beijing’s technological progress. Listing means the company’s suppliers must apply for a special, difficult-to-obtain license before shipping to the company.

One of those licenses, issued by the Trump administration, has allowed Intel to send core processors to Huawei for use in laptops since 2020. Chinese hardliners had urged the Biden administration to revoke that license, but many reluctantly accepted that it would expire later this year. not be extended.

Huawei’s unveiling Thursday of its first AI-enabled laptop, the MateBook approved.

“One of the biggest mysteries in Washington, DC is why the Commerce Department continues to allow American technology to be shipped to Huawei,” said Republican Congressman Michael Gallagher, chairman of the House of Representatives Special Committee on China. a statement to Reuters.

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A source familiar with the matter said the chips were shipped under a pre-existing license. They are not covered by recent broad restrictions on AI chip shipments to China, the source and another person said.

The Commerce Department and Intel declined to comment. Huawei did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

The response is a sign of mounting pressure on the Biden administration to do more to thwart Huawei’s rise, nearly five years after the company was added to a list of trade restrictions.

In August, it shocked the world with a new phone powered by an advanced chip made by sanctioned Chinese chipmaker SMIC, becoming a symbol of China’s technological revival despite Washington’s continued efforts to boost its ability to develop advanced to produce semiconductors.

At a Senate subcommittee hearing this week, Kevin Kurland, an export enforcement official, said Washington’s restrictions on Huawei have had a “significant impact” on access to U.S. technology. He also emphasized that the goal is not necessarily to stop Huawei’s growth, but to prevent it from misusing American technology for “malicious activities.”

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But the comments did little to ease the frustration among Republican China hawks following news of Huawei’s new laptop.

“These approvals must stop,” Republican Congressman Michael McCaul said in a statement to Reuters. “Two years ago I was told that Huawei licensing would stop. Today it doesn’t seem like the policy has changed.”

(Reporting by Alexandra Alper and Karen Freifeld; Editing by Leslie Adler and Stephen Coates)

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