WASHINGTON – Global exports of semiconductors to Russia have plummeted by 90% since the United States and allies slapped export controls on Moscow over its invasion of Ukraine, U.S. Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo said on Wednesday.
Raimondo, speaking at an annual Commerce Department conference, also said that controls placed on Russia’s aerospace sector were hammering its ability to generate revenue and support military aviation.
“Russia may be forced to ground between half and two-thirds of its commercial aircraft in the next four years in order to cannibalize them for spare parts,” she added.
The remarks came a day after U.S. President Joe Biden’s administration added five companies in China to a trade blacklist on Tuesday for allegedly supporting Russia’s military and defense industrial base, flexing its muscle to enforce sanctions against Moscow.
The United States has worked with allies to punish Russian President Vladimir Putin for the invasion, which Moscow calls a “special operation”, by sanctioning a raft of Russian companies and oligarchs and adding others to a trade blacklist.
While U.S. officials had previously said that China was generally complying with the restrictions, Washington has vowed to closely monitor compliance and rigorously enforce the regulations.
On Wednesday, Raimondo also doubled down on threats to “shut down” China’s top chipmaker SMIC if it is found to be supplying chips to Russia.
“What if SMIC or other Chinese-based semiconductor companies are found supplying chips to Russia?” she said. “We will shut them down and we can, because almost every chip in the world and in China is made using U.S. equipment and software and I intend to make good on that commitment if it’s necessary.”
(Reporting by Alexandra Alper and Karen Freifeld; Editing by Mark Porter and Deepa Babington)