Report: US Nears Approval of Tech Export Limits

(Image credit: Shutterstock)

The U.S. Department of Commerce is close to revealing new limits on the export of certain American technologies, according to Reuters, which said yesterday that it saw  an internal status update revealing  the restrictions the department's considering.

That document reportedly showed that Commerce Department regulators are being cautious with these restrictions. Reuters said the department will seek comment from foreign governments, as well as U.S. tech companies, before introducing them.

Seeking comment from other governments would reportedly be part of the Department of Commerce's efforts to ensure that restrictions on certain exports don't put U.S. companies at a disadvantage to their non-American counterparts.

Reuters said regulators considered limits on quantum diluting refrigerators, 3D printing tools used to make explosives, Gate-All-Around Field Effect transistor tech, chemicals used in a nerve agent and "single-use chambers for chemical reactions."

Perhaps the most important restrictions for the tech industry would be those affecting quantum diluting refrigerators, which are used to cool the qubits at the heart of many quantum computers, and the Gate-All-Around Field Effect transistors.

Reuters said Gate-All-Around Field Effect transistor technology is expected to "play a major role in newer, faster semiconductors that are under development" by the likes of TSMC, Samsung and Intel. Restricting that technology could disrupt those efforts.

The Department of Commerce has reportedly decided to instate a sixth rule covering artificial intelligence without seeking industry comment or input from other regulators. That suggests the department is particularly worried about AI.

Reuters noted that the Department of Commerce's rules might change after the regulator starts to receive input from U.S. tech companies and other governments. It could also introduce new rules in the future, too, in an effort to restrict more goods.

Any such rules wouldn't entirely limit the export of U.S. products in affected sectors. The Department of Commerce's restrictions are specifically meant to keep sensitive technology out of the hands of "foreign adversaries," as Reuters put it, like China.

Nathaniel Mott
Freelance News & Features Writer

Nathaniel Mott is a freelance news and features writer for Tom's Hardware US, covering breaking news, security, and the silliest aspects of the tech industry.