Chinese chip imports fall following new US restrictions

Imports and Exports | | MIC Customs Solutions |

Imports of semiconductor technology to China fell by 16 percent by value in 2022 as new export controls came into force in the US.

Imports of semiconductor-related products to China fell sharply at the end of last year as new export controls imposed by the US on shipments of the most technologically advanced products began to bite.

For the year as a whole, shipments by value dropped by 15 percent year-on-year to $34.7 billion, the Nikkei reported. However, the figures were weighed down by a much sharper drop towards the end of the year. 

The news provider noted that for the final quarter of 2022, Japanese exports to China fell by 16 percent on the year by value, while the US recorded a 50 percent decline and the Netherlands a 44 percent drop.

Between them, the three nations are home to some of the world's largest makers of hi-tech semiconductors and related equipment, with the biggest suppliers including Applied Materials, ASML and Tokyo Electron. 

This trend has continued into 2023, with total imports in January and February falling by 21 percent year-on-year, while semiconductor imports dropped by around a quarter.

This follows new restrictions enacted by the US government on the sale of advanced technology products to China. These were brought in by the US in October, with Intel describing them as "likely the most complicated export control rules ever published". 

One of the key elements is that it is not just direct shipments from the US that are affected, but imports from anywhere in the world where US-made equipment is used in the manufacturing process. This may explain why imports from other nations were also impacted.

Washington is also lobbying its key allies to implement similar rules. Indeed, earlier this month, the Netherlands - home to ASML - became the latest country to follow in the US' footsteps.

Japan has yet to announce any restrictions, although the nation's economy, trade and industry minister Yasutoshi Nishimura said Tokyo will "take appropriate measures based on what restrictions other countries implement".