BIS is seeking public comment on a number of questions, suggesting there could be further updates and offering some clues to the strategic direction the Commerce Department unit might take next. For example, it asks whether restrictions on cloud service providers selling computing capacity to Chinese firms might be required.
“My interpretation of this is that the administration remains determined that they're going to have to take an approach that is flexible and adaptable to how the industry responds,” says Paul Scharre, executive vice president and director of studies at the Center for a New American Security, a military-affairs think tank.
“On one level, this can seem really technocratic and boring—the chip performance thresholds and interconnect bandwidth—but at the end of the day, these most advanced chips are a huge area of geopolitical competition,” says Scharre. “I think we're going to continue to see Chinese actors and other global companies, including U.S. companies, be responsive and change their behavior, but also find ways to continue to make money and advance their own interests despite this.”
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