The Biden Administration has banned exports of Nvidia and AMD's latest GPUs to some countries in the Middle East.

Specific countries impacted by the block were not disclosed, but come after similar restrictions to China that also include networking products.

Nvidia DGX H100
– Nvidia

"During the second quarter of fiscal year 2024, the USG [US government] also informed us of an additional licensing requirement for a subset of A100 and H100 products destined to certain customers and other regions, including some countries in the Middle East," Nvidia said in a regulatory filing.

The company said that it did not expect there to be “an immediate material impact" due to the ban. Rival AMD told Reuters that it received a letter “with similar restrictions."

The companies and the Bureau of Industry and Security did not disclose the reason for the restrictions. A potential cause could be China's deepening ties to some Middle Eastern nations - Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates have both discussed closer AI links with China, while the UAE has been accused of being a potential “transhipment point” used by Russia to evade sanctions.

The latest GPUs are key to the development of generative AI systems, including large language models like ChatGPT.

To meet demand in China despite the sanctions, Nvidia developed pared-back versions of its latest GPUs, shipping the A800 and H800 to the country. Earlier this month, it was revealed that Chinese chip giants plan to spend some $5 billion on more than 100,000 A800 GPUs.