The US government is preparing to blacklist dozens of Chinese companies, including China’s top chipmaker Semiconductor Manufacturing International Corporation (SMIC), according to Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross on Friday.

Around 80 companies, of which the majority are Chinese, will be added to the blacklist due to reasons of national security, denying them access to the US technology.

“These are companies that are tied to the People’s Liberation Army,” Ross told Fox Business, adding: “This has to do with their access to very advanced semiconductor products.”

The list already includes approximately 700 firms, with 296 of them Chinese companies such as Huawei, while 150 other firms are related to Huawei.

SMIC is China’s biggest microchip manufacturer and a major supplier to tech companies, including Qualcomm and Broadcom that are active in mobile communications and 5G technology.

The blacklist will “ensure that China, through its national champion SMIC, is not able to leverage US technologies to enable indigenous advanced technology levels to support its destabilizing military activities,” Ross said.

Since US President Donald Trump has engaged in a trade conflict with China, intellectual property rights, 5G communication and technology transfer have been key but unresolved topics between Washington and Beijing.

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