Regulatory intelligence for US exporters

Canada Announces New Quantum, Chip Export Controls

Canada recently imposed export controls on five technologies related to quantum technology, advanced semiconductors and semiconductor equipment, the country said in a June 19 notice. The controls took effect June 20.

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The quantum controls will apply to certain quantum computers that can “confine, control, measure and process the quantum information embodied in 34 or more physical qubits with a small margin of error,” including circuits and devices specially designed for quantum computers, “such as certain components and devices made to control and measure these quantum computers.” The restrictions will also apply to cryogenic complementary metal oxide semiconductor integrated circuits that operate at a temperature of 4.5 Kelvin or below.

The chip controls will apply to certain technology used to develop or make semiconductor devices or microchips using Gate-All-Around Field-Effect Transistor (GAAFET) structures, including as nanosheet, nanowire, and gate-all-around transistor technology; certain equipment designed for “isotropic and anisotropic dry etching,” which Canada said are “critical in the making of GAAFET structures”; and advanced scanning electron microscope (SEM) equipment for “imaging semiconductor or integrated circuits, or to perform chip design recovery meeting a specific set of metrics.”

Exporters will now need a permit to ship those items outside of Canada, except to the U.S.

Canada said it consulted with industry experts “on multiple occasions” between 2019 and 2023 to determine what kind of impact the controls would have. The new chip controls “have been identified as having no noticeable impact on the semiconductor industry in Canada,” the country said, while quantum industry experts urged Canada to make sure the quantum restrictions were coordinated with allies.

“The parameters related to the new controlled items were established by leveraging the feedback we received from the industry, as well as the existing and ongoing work undertaken within the Wassenaar Arrangement, a multilateral export control regime in which Canada participates,” the country said. “They were also developed in cooperation with our allies and partners with the goal of establishing a common understanding of where the threshold of concern lies.”