The United States of America has asked a number of countries in Europe and Asia to impose sanctions on Chinese chipmakers. One of them, the Netherlands, has issued a statement saying it will not simply accept new US restrictions on chipmaking technology exports to China, and is consulting with European and Asian allies.
Dutch Trade Minister Liesje Schreinemacher said on Sunday she expects Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte to speak with President Joe Biden on export policy when he visits the United States.
In fact, however, the Netherlands has prevented ASML Holding from supplying their most advanced machines to China, only allowing them to sell machines and technology manufactured before 2019.
The Dutch government has denied ASML permission to ship its most advanced machines to China since 2019 after a pressure campaign by the Trump administration, but ASML sold €2 billion worth of older machines to China in 2021.
The US took action in October to limit China’s capacity to manufacture its own chips, and US trade officials said at the time they would do so expected that the Netherlands and Japan will follow suit soon. ASML said that if the US-proposed rules come into effect, it could affect about 5 percent of the group’s sales.
According to Schreinemacher, the US has “legitimate concerns” about its over-reliance on Asia, where 80 percent of advanced silicon chips are made, and that he agrees with the possibility that these products could be used in military applications against the Netherlands or against its allies.
“We spoke to you the Americans for a long time, but they have come up with new rules in October, so the playing field changes,” said Schreinemacher. “So you can’t say they’ve been pressuring us for two years and now we have to sign on the dotted line. And we won’t.”
Schreinemacher said her team is also discussing how to deal with this situation with her colleagues in Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, Germany and France.
Schreinemacher has stressed that Germany has a financial interest because it is a major supplier of ASML and to ensure that other countries do the same if they put a particular technology on a list of products that cannot easily be exported to China and above all, stick to the rules.”
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