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The Netherlands will no longer, at the request of the United States alone, limit the supply of equipment for the production of chips to China.

Published: 2023-01-17

Dutch Commerce Minister Liesje Schreinemacher said the U.S. export restrictions on China in October 2022 were "a game changer." And if since 2019 the authorities of the Netherlands have prohibited ASML from supplying everything to China that the United States indicated, then new restrictions will not be introduced this way. In the future, new red flags will be placed only after consultations with allies in Europe and Asia.

Restrictions on the supply of lithographic equipment for the production of semiconductors to China have always existed, although they have been softened or strengthened in one way or another at certain intervals. In 2019, under pressure from the Donald Trump administration, the Dutch authorities banned ASML from supplying EUV (13.5 nm) lithographic scanners to China. The ban did not apply to the supply of DUV (193 nm) scanners, even in the most modern version, which allowed ASML to sell equipment worth about 2 billion euros to China in 2021 alone.

In October 2022, the US took action to also ban the sale of DUV range scanners to China. The ban will affect approximately 5% of the company's total sales, ASML said. In reality, this figure may be higher, since many related companies that depend on supplies from China may be involved in the process. In any case, according to Lisie Schreinemacher, no one will subscribe to these new requirements without consultation.

Consultations will be held both with European allies, among which the position of Germany is of decisive importance (ASML owns a stake in Carl Zeiss and receives optics for scanners from it), and with Asian ones - from Japan, Taiwan and others. If the parties can find common ground, then unprecedented sanctions will be imposed on China in the field of semiconductor production.