Sanctions against individual Chinese companies were aimed at denying them access to advanced technologies of American origin, and the Huawei example may be illustrative, but experts argue that in practice US export restrictions are highly conditional and Chinese counterparts may as a result gain access to almost any product or technology.
The disclosure article published The Wall Street Journal, which states that the U.S. Department of Commerce is formally concerned with compliance with export restrictions on China, approving almost all requests for the supply of sanctions goods and technology to the Under heaven. In 2020, according to the source, the U.S. sent goods to China totalling $125 billion, the licence was requested for less than half of that amount, while 94 per cent of export licence requests were granted. Critics believed that the Ministry was more interested in developing trade with China than in restricting the supply of certain goods to that country, which is considered the main U.S. opponent in the foreign policy arena.
Some analysts fear that the tightening of US exports will be offset by the supply of goods needed by the Chinese economy from Germany, Japan, and South Korea. If the goal is to curb the development of the PRC, the allies must work together in the field of export control, which is not yet the case.
The complexity added to the confusing identification of Chinese companies that could be involved in the creation of defence products, and American regulators simply found it difficult to determine who could be allowed to buy goods and who could be banned.
In fact, it appears that the equipment for the production of chips from the United States to China was delivered in 2021 at $6.9 billion, a marked increase over the amount of $2.6 billion in 2017. The American company Lam Research explained that it did not need any export licences for the delivery of lithographic equipment to China. A recent example of 7 nm products in the Chinese SMIC product range indicates that US sanctions against the semi-conductor sector of the PRC are not working well.
Independent researchers number tens of thousands of Chinese companies that may be involved in the production of defence products in one way or another, but no more than 70 of them are on the "blacklist" of American regulators. All of them may, if necessary, obtain the desired goods from the US if the suppliers agree with the US Department through an export licence, which is also easy. Finally, the regulations do not prohibit US companies from delivering sanctions products to China from their enterprises outside the United States.