By David Shepardson
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The Republican chairmen of two House of Representatives panels on Friday urged President Joe Biden’s administration to rally U.S. allies including Japan and South Korea to defeat Chinese “economic aggression” in the wake of Beijing’s effective ban on purchases of Micron Technology memory chips.
Michael McCaul, who heads the House Foreign Affairs Committee, and Mike Gallagher, chairman of the House select committee on the Chinese Communist Party, sent a letter to U.S. Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo urging the administration to take action after China targeted the biggest U.S. memory chip maker.
China’s cyberspace regulator said on May 21 that Micron had failed its network security review and it would bar operators of key Chinese infrastructure from buying from the company, the latest development in an ongoing dispute over chip technology between Washington and Beijing. The move came a day after leaders of the G7 industrial democracies agreed to new initiatives to push back against Chinese economic coercion.
Micron subsequently predicted a revenue reduction.
McCaul and Gallagher urged Raimondo to work with Japan and South Korea to ensure that companies from those countries “do not take market share lost to the ban and undercut Micron.” The lawmakers added that China “lashed out with an arbitrary economic embargo against one American company. Now, the United States must ensure that this economic aggression fails.”
The Commerce Department must rally U.S. partners and allies, they said.
“We must quickly work with Japan and South Korea to ensure Japanese and South Korean companies do not undercut Micron by taking its sales that were lost to the PRC’s unjustifiable boycott,” they added, referring to the People’s Republic of China.
Raimondo on Saturday said the United States will not tolerate China’s action and is working closely with allies to address such “economic coercion.”
The Chinese Embassy in Washington and a spokesperson for the Commerce Department did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
McCaul and Gallagher said China’s action against Micron “should not deter but should rather invigorate export control actions against PRC companies that may threaten U.S. national security or foreign policy interests,” like Chinese memory chip maker Changxin Memory Technologies.
“Failure to impose a cost upon the PRC for its malign behavior will only invite further such conduct,” they added.
Reuters has reported Gallagher previously urged Raimondo to put trade curbs on Changxin Memory after Beijing’s actions against Micron.
(Reporting by David Shepardson; Editing by Will Dunham)