Donald Trump administration cuts Chinese supercomputer firms off from U.S. components

US Commerce last month blacklisted telecommunications giant Huawei heightening tensions with Beijing

The US government has imposed more trade restrictions; this time on China's supercomputing industry.

The move Friday by the U.S. Commerce Department could complicate talks next week between President Donald Trump and his Chinese counterpart, Xi Jinping, aimed at de-escalating a trade dispute between the world's two biggest economies. But Trump and Xi are scheduled to meet next week at the Group of 20 summit in Osaka, Japan, to get the negotiations back on track.

Trade tensions between the world's top two economies have spilled over into the tech sector in recent months, with Trump's administration moving to essentially ban Chinese tech firm Huawei from the huge U.S. market on security grounds. While some are eager to see Trump reach a deal with Xi that would remove a drag on the USA economy going into the 2020 election cycle others in the administration are more intent on proceeding with a multifaceted crackdown on China.

"Coming a week before the president meets Xi Jinping, it's a welcome sign the US won't trade advanced technology for Chinese commodities purchases".

Sugon and the Wuxi Jiangnan Institute are involved in China's push to develop "exascale" computing systems, which make a billion billion calculations per second, that can assist China's military modernization.

The companies are Higon, Chengdu Haiguang Integrated Circuit, Chengdu Haiguang Microelectronics Technology, Sugon and Wuxi Jiangnan Institute of Computing Technology. It licensed one generation of AMD technology as part of a 2016 joint venture in which a Sugon subsidiary has an ownership stake.

THATIC, or Tianjin Haiguang Advanced Technology Investment Co., is a Chinese holding company comprising an AMD joint venture with two entities, according to an AMD regulatory filing. Sugon, which sources components from Intel, AMD, and Nvidia, is responsible for dozens of supercomputers that now rank on the world's top500 list.

US officials are banning exports to four Chinese technology companies and one research institute on the grounds that they are undermining American national security, the latest move in a broadening confrontation over advanced technology between the world's leading economies. The sales can only resume if a license has been secured from the Commerce Department.

"Sugon has publicly acknowledged a variety of military end uses and end users of its high-performance computers", the department said in its notice.

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