Semiconductors: Netherlands to limit exports of technologies after US pressure

I amThe Netherlands will restrict exports of technology for making electronic chips for “security” reasons, the Dutch government announced Wednesday, after pressure from the United States.

“The government has come to the conclusion that it is necessary for international and national security to extend the current export controls for the production of certain semiconductors,” Dutch Foreign Minister Liesje Schreinmaker said in a letter to parliament.

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The Netherlands is a European leader in machinery for making chips, the electronic components essential to the operation of smartphones, connected cars and military equipment. After taking such a step last year, the US has pushed for export restrictions.

“Unique and Leading Position”

The Dutch government’s announcement comes less than two months after Prime Minister Mark Rutte and President Joe Biden met in Washington to discuss the issue.

The export restrictions are expected to affect Dutch group ASML, Europe’s largest semiconductor machinery maker. The Dutch government did not name the company directly, but indicated that the actions concerned the ASML group’s specialty machines known as DUV (deep ultraviolet).

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According to the government, the purpose of extending these restrictions is to prevent military use and to protect the Netherlands’ “unique and leading position”.

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ASML also manufactures EUV (Extreme Ultra Violet) machines, which make it possible to manufacture even more sophisticated electronic chips. These machines are already listed in a multilateral agreement signed by some forty countries, including the United States and the Netherlands, which governs the control of exports of dual-use civil-military technologies.

Washington’s escalation of sanctions

On the occasion of publishing its annual results in January, the group urged governments to remain “vigilant” in the chip war between China and the US. “We must be careful that well-intentioned actions do not have unfortunate consequences,” said chief executive Peter Wenninck. ASML expects a net profit of 5.6 billion euros and a turnover of 21.2 billion euros in 2022.

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