The United States denies blocking chip sales to the Middle East.
The Biden administration denies that it has imposed a blanket ban on selling advanced AI chips to the Middle East after new export licensing requirements for Nvidia and AMD sparked confusion.
On Thursday, a U.S. Commerce Department spokesperson clarified that the government “has not blocked the sale of chips to the Middle East” amid the expanded restrictions.
Earlier this week, Nvidia revealed in a regulatory filing that new rules require licenses for exporting its top AI accelerators abroad. AMD was also said to be affected.
While not commenting on specific companies, Commerce has not universally prohibited AI chip exports to the region. Details remain murky on exactly which nations face tighter scrutiny.
Nvidia and AMD have not confirmed whether they have applied for or received the special licenses. U.S. officials commonly cite national security reasons for tech export curbs.
Last year saw similar controls aimed at limiting China’s AI capabilities. What specific risks underpin the latest Middle East AI licensing move is uncertain.
The Biden administration balances concerns over enabling foreign AI development with U.S. chipmakers’ business interests. While not wholly halting Middle East sales, the opaque new rules signal greater caution.
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