US pressure mounts on Amsterdam: New anti-China chip restrictions
The Netherlands agrees to expand restrictions on China tech exports, citing national security concerns.
The Netherlands said it introduced new plans to restrict chipmaking technology imports to China, which will be added to existing anti-China provisions adopted earlier following pressure from Washington to limit Beijing's access to the semiconductor manufacturing technology.
Amid the global struggle between powers, mainly China and the US, to gain tech superiority and establish world dominance in the industry, the European country has been the center of the US attention as it is home to one of the most advanced firms in the tech industry worldwide.
Advanced Semiconductor Materials Lithography or ASML is a dutch company that specializes in producing not the semiconductors, but the Extreme Ultraviolet (EUV) lithography machines that manufacture the chips.
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"The government has come to the conclusion that it is necessary for international and national security to expand the existing export control of specific semiconductor production equipment," Dutch Foreign Trade Minister Liesje Schreinemacher told the parliament.
Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte made a trip to Washington and met with US President Joe Biden less than two months ago, where the two leaders discussed the matter.
ASML has a global monopoly on EUV production, being the only company in the world to make them, and supplies its products to the world's largest chip maker, Taiwanese TSMC.
Export controls aim to cut China off semiconductors that can be used in military applications and to protect the Netherlands' "unique and leading position" in the domain.
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The EUV lithography machines are already subjected to export limitations under an agreement signed by nearly 40 countries, including the US and the Netherlands, which prevents the open export of dual civilian-military technology.
ASML chief Peter Wennink stressed that the Netherlands and the US should be "careful" and weigh in their measures to cut the supplies for the world's largest chip market, China.
"We need to be careful that instruments that are well-meant don't come to a consequence that we all feel sorry about," Wennink said last January.
In October 2022, the US Department of Commerce introduced sanctions on China, putting hurdles in Beijing's way to buy or develop advanced semiconductors.
China has filed a case with the World Trade Organization (WTO), hitting back at US export sanctions on microchips, further fueling the tech war between the two countries.
The complaint marked the first step in a WTO mediation process, where the case would normally be put before the Appellate Body, however, the body has been suspended due to disagreements among member states.
Last Tuesday, China accused Biden's administration of ramping up tensions toward Beijing following targeted unilateral sanctions against Chinese companies, by adopting restrictions to limit the Asian giant's access to some technologies and pressuring other countries to do so.
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