Ex-US official accuses China of chip dumping plan

A former US government official has claimed that China is planning to flood the global market with cheap semiconductors as a way to stifle competition from western tech companies.

In an interview with EE Times, Nazak Nikakhtar, a former US Department of Commerce under secretary, said that her concerns reflected “voices that are currently in the administration who want to take a tougher stance.”

Nikakhtar added: “They know that there are gaps in the laws that they want to tighten. There’s also enormous pushback from industry. They want to keep the status quo.”

Nikakhtar joined the Department of Commerce shortly after China joined the World Trade Organization (WTO) in 2001.

At the time she said she saw the beginning of “systematic practices” by China that “hollowed out” US tech industries. She added that in her opinion attempts by the US to limit the export of advanced chips to China last year had largely failed.

“SMIC (Semiconductor Manufacturing International Corp.) is building major capacity to flood the markets with cheap chips,” said Nikakhtar. “TSMC (Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co.), Samsung, SK Hynix—they’re already all starting to feel the effects of it.”

Nikakhtar is not the only political figure sounding the alarm bells about China’s dumping tactics. Last month the EU opened an anti-subsidy investigation into Chinese electric vehicles (Evs), with European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen claiming that the price of Chinese EVs was kept “artificially low by huge state subsidies,” a practice which was distorting the market.