The ban, which is also being enacted by major U.S. allies, is designed to choke off deliveries to defense and other high-tech buyers in the aerospace and maritime technology sectors, but not to block deliveries of consumer electronics, the Biden administration said.
In a statement, TSMC said it is “fully committed to complying with the new export control rules announced.”
GlobalFoundries, the chip manufacturer based in Malta, N.Y., said it also has begun complying with the rules. The company has a system to review and block any prohibited sales to Russia, said Karmi Leiman, the company’s head of global government affairs and trade, though he added that the size of the company’s sales to Russian buyers is “not material.”
Intel, based in Santa Clara, Calif., said it “complies with all applicable export regulations and sanctions,” including the new Russia-focused export controls.
Russia is vulnerable to the export ban because it doesn’t produce consumer electronics or chips in large quantities, analysts say. In particular, it doesn’t make the highest-end semiconductors needed for advanced computing, an area dominated by Taiwan, South Korea, the United States, Europe and Japan.
TSMC’s participation in the sanctions is particularly damaging because the company is the world’s largest manufacturer of chips, including the most advanced.
Russia’s military and security services use Elbrus chips in some computing applications, according to Kostas Tigkos, an electronics expert at Janes, a U.K.-based provider of defense intelligence, who described the loss of TSMC’s help with the chips as “devastating” for Russia.
The Russian government has also been encouraging large domestic companies and banks to use Elbrus chips in their computers because the components are designed in Russia.
The Semiconductor Industry Association, a trade group representing big chipmakers, said its members are “fully committed to complying” with the new rules “in response to the deeply disturbing events unfolding in Ukraine.”