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Taiwan chipmakers hint at decoupling from the US

NEW YORK ­– Taiwan’s chip fabricators signed an agreement on December 3 to create their own semiconductor equipment industry, opening an “option to decouple from the West,” in the view of a prominent US research firm.

The Taiwanese initiative responds to Washington’s extraterritorial sanctions on buyers of US fabricating equipment, imposed by then-president Donald Trump in May 2020. The US asserts the right to block sales of chips produced with US machines or intellectual property.

The US sanctions shut off Chinese tech giant Huawei’s access to high-end chips of 7 nanometers and below, crippling what previously was the world’s top handset producer. Unable to make 5G phones, Huawei lost market share to Chinese handset producer Xiaomi and sold its Honor smartphone business.