China could put Apple on an “unreliable entity list” alongside other U.S. companies, in a series of punitive countermeasures the country is prepared to take against U.S. moves to block shipments of semiconductors to Huawei, claimed a report over the weekend.
According to the Global Times, the Chinese government’s mouthpiece, the list would be a first step toward launching a series of investigations and imposing restrictions on U.S. companies such as Apple, Qualcomm, and Cisco.
“China will take forceful countermeasures to protect its own legitimate rights,” if the US moves forward with the plan to bar essential suppliers of chips, including Taiwan-based TSMC, from selling chips to the Chinese tech giant, the source told the Global Times in an exclusive interview.
The measures include adding related US companies to China’s “unreliable entity list,” imposing restrictions on or launching investigations into US companies like Qualcomm, Cisco and Apple according to Chinese laws and regulations like Cybersecurity Review Measures and Anti-monopoly Law, and suspending airplane purchases from Boeing, said the source.
According to comments made last year by a Chinese ministry of commerce official, once a company is added to China’s “unreliable entity list” it would face necessary legal and administrative measures and the Chinese public would also be warned against dealing with it to reduce risks.
Beijing’s latest tit-for-tat threat comes after the U.S. commerce department announced rules last week that limit U.S. companies from supplying semiconductors, parts, and processor designs to Huawei and its affiliates. The rules also apply to third-parties if they know they will eventually be used in Huawei products.
The move prevents Taiwan-based TSMC from purchasing U.S. supplies for chips that are used in Huawei phones. Nikkei reported on Monday that TSMC has already moved to stop new orders from Huawei, although TSMC told Reuters the reports were “purely market rumor.”
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