Taiwan Bans Most Chip Exports To Russia, Belarus

The government of Taiwan has enacted a strict ban on the export of computer chips and chip-making equipment to Russia and Belarus, due to their illegal invasion of Ukraine.

Russia and Belarus are already facing some of the most wide-ranging sanctions, both on the technology and financial side, but Taiwan’s decision will make it even harder now for those two pariah nations to obtain modern processors.

The island of Taiwan of course is where most of the world’s chip manufacturing takes place, although many nations are now seeking to build their own semiconductor fabs as a strategically important move.

Russia ban

Taiwan News reported that Taiwan’s Ministry of Economic Affairs (MOEA) last week published a list of strategic high-tech goods that are barred from export to Russia and Belarus.

The ministry stated exports of these high-tech commodities are also banned from Belarus because it could help Russia bypass the sanctions.

This means that companies from these two countries are now banned from purchasing Taiwan-made microprocessors or microcircuits which have any of the following specifications:

  • performance speeds of 5 gigaflops or above;
  • clock frequency rates in excess of 25 MHz;
  • an external interconnection with a data transfer rate of 2.5 MB/s or greater;
  • more than 144 pins;
  • or a basic propagation delay time of less than 0.4 nanoseconds.

These conditions essentially exclude Russia and Belarus from nearly all modern technology made in Taiwan.

In addition, Taiwan will no longer sell chip production equipment to these countries.

This includes alignment and exposure equipment for wafer production, scanners, and scanning electron microscopes.

Tech sanctions

The move, coupled with the ongoing worldwide sanctions against Russia that includes chip makers such as Intel, AMD, Nvidia, Samsung, etc, makes it more difficult for Russia and Belarus to find chips for a variety of electronics, including computers, phones and TVs.

Indeed, last month a senior US official revealed Russia is having to use chips intended for home appliances to repair its military hardware due to the impact of the sanctions.

“We have reports from Ukrainians that when they find Russian military equipment on the ground, it’s filled with semiconductors that they took out of dishwashers and refrigerators,” commerce secretary Gina Raimondo told the Senate Committee on Appropriations.

Tom Jowitt

Tom Jowitt is a leading British tech freelancer and long standing contributor to Silicon UK. He is also a bit of a Lord of the Rings nut...

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