The Dutch government is planning to introduce new export regulations that will further restrict the export of chip-making machines to China. The relevant announcement is expected to be made as early as next week, on June 30 or early July.
According to sources, the document will not actually mention China or ASML, but the rules are worded to restrict the export of three models of ASML devices to China. According to Chinese resource SCMP, Dutch lawmakers have actually created a template under which other EU countries can impose export restrictions. As you know, US President Joe Biden’s administration is putting pressure on the Netherlands and other countries to prevent China from building its own semiconductor industry and making advances in technologies such as AI and quantum computing. The US has also previously imposed its own export restrictions that prevented the sale of certain advanced chips and equipment for their production to China.
In January, the authorities of the Netherlands and Japan agreed in principle to join US sanctions – the three countries are leaders in the manufacture of equipment for chip production and have extensive experience in semiconductor production. ASML is one of the most valuable technology companies in the EU. It previously stated that the restrictive measures will not have a material impact on the company’s financial performance either in 2023 or in the long term. For the supply of some types of equipment, the company needs to apply for export licenses from the authorities.
Restrictions are expected to prevent shipments of DUV (deep ultraviolet lithography) chipmaking machines to China: TWINSCAN NXT: 2000i, NXT: 2050i and NXT: 2100i. ASML previously banned the sale of advanced EUV lithography equipment to Chinese companies. According to the local Department of Commerce, losing a paying customer is “necessary to ensure national and international securityand the technology must be brought under control as soon as possible. However, the measures taken are still softer than those that the US already introduced last year.
As you know, the Dutch government is under considerable pressure from the United States to organize a global blockade against China in some areas in order to hinder China’s rapidly developing semiconductor industry. At the same time, China is one of ASML’s main customers.
The company itself has repeatedly stated that such sanctions will only make China speed up the development of its own semiconductor technologies, but it seems that its arguments have gone unheeded. It is well known that the next package of EU legislative initiatives will see tighter scrutiny over European companies’ activities in China. Traditionally, the initiators of the initiative state that the measures are not directed against a specific country.