Patcay.com – A more extensive, bipartisan coalition of U.S. legislators is inquiring with the Biden administration regarding its strategy to counter China’s increasingly prevalent adoption of RISC-V chip design technology. This follows a recent Reuters report that raised concerns in both chambers of Congress.
RISC-V, pronounced as “risk five,” represents a free, open-source technology that competes with the expensive proprietary technology offered by British semiconductor and software design company Arm Holdings (O9Ty.F, ARM.O) and Intel Corp (INTC.O). RISC-V can serve as a fundamental component for various applications, ranging from smartphone chips to advanced processors for artificial intelligence.
Prominent U.S. companies like Qualcomm (QCOM.O) and Alphabet’s Google (GOOGL.O) have embraced RISC-V. However, numerous Chinese firms have also adopted it.
At least four influential U.S. lawmakers perceive the Chinese utilization of this technology as a potential national security concern. This is because RISC-V falls outside the scope of comprehensive export controls that the U.S. has imposed on the transfer of chip technology to China.
Now, a more extensive group of 18 legislators, including five Democrats, is questioning the Biden administration about its strategies to prevent China from “attaining supremacy in RISC-V technology and exploiting that supremacy to the detriment of U.S. national and economic security.” These inquiries are outlined in a letter sent to Secretary Raimondo and disclosed by Reuters.
This group of lawmakers includes the Republican chairman and the leading Democrat from a select committee on China in the House of Representatives. Additionally, Democratic legislators from New Jersey, Florida, Michigan, and Indiana are part of this coalition. They have also raised questions about how the existing executive order might be applied to necessitate U.S. companies to obtain export licenses before engaging with Chinese firms on RISC-V technology.
The lawmakers emphasized in their letter that “while the advantages of open-source collaboration on RISC-V hold great promise for advancing the U.S. semiconductor industry, this potential can only be realized when contributors are dedicated to improving the technology, rather than furthering the technological objectives and geopolitical interests of China.”
A spokesperson from the Commerce Department stated that Secretary Raimondo has received the letter and will respond through the appropriate channels.