New restrictions planned by the US government on high-tech exports could seriously threaten trade relations with China, analysts have warned.
A request for public comment was published on the Federal Register this week asking if technologies with national security applications - including artificial intelligence, deep learning, robotics and natural language processing - should be subject to stricter export-control regulations.
The Commerce Department has said it will consider the curbs and industry now has a 30-day consultation window in which to weigh in before President Trump makes a decision on whether or not to apply the legislation.
Under the suggested restrictions, even big businesses like Apple and Google could face limits on the ways in which they export technology such as super-computers and smartphones, the Washington Post has pointed out.
It is not the first time that the US has hit exports with tighter controls. In October this year, the Treasury Department revealed a number of technologies that would be subject to more scrutiny as a matter of national security.
However, analysts have hit out at the proposed new measures, with Deutsche Bank AG warning that they could seriously damage relations between the US and China.
The organization also pointed out that businesses in the rest of the world may be profoundly affected.
"Products in the above fields may be manufactured by a global supply chain with assembly plants in China. The controls will impose legal risk on such production," a statement added.
Interactions between China and the US are already growing increasingly strained following a raft of trade tariffs that were applied this year.
A meeting of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit this month ended without a joint statement from the two nations for the first time in 25 years and trade deals at the Group of 20 meeting in a few weeks are looking increasingly unlikely.
Chinese stock markets have also plummeted after the Federal Register announcement.