Exclusive: Dutch respond to US China policy with plan to curb semiconductor technology exports

AMSTERDAM/WASHINGTON March 8 (Reuters) – The Dutch government on Wednesday announced it was planning new restrictions on exports of semiconductor technology to protect national security, joining the United States’ efforts to limit chip exports to China. curb.

The U.S. imposed sweeping export restrictions on shipments of U.S. chip-making tools to China in October, but for the restrictions to be effective, other key suppliers in the Netherlands and Japan, who also oversee key making technology of chips, agree. The allied countries have been discussing the issue for months.

Dutch Trade Minister Liesje Schreinemacher announced the decision in a letter to parliament, saying the restrictions will be introduced before the summer.

Her letter did not mention China, a major Dutch trading partner, nor ASML Holding NV (ASML.AS), Europe’s largest technology company and a major supplier to semiconductor manufacturers, but both will be affected. It specified a technology that will be affected, “DUV” lithography, the second most advanced machines that ASML sells to computer chip manufacturers.

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“Because the Netherlands considers it necessary for reasons of national security to get this technology into supervision with the utmost urgency, the cabinet is coming up with a national checklist,” the letter said.

ASML said in response that it expects to apply for licenses to export the most advanced segment of its DUV machines, but that would not affect its financial outlook for 2023.

ASML dominates the market for lithography systems, multimillion-dollar machines that use powerful lasers to create the tiny circuits of computer chips.

The company expects sales in China to remain about the same at 2.2 billion euros in 2023, implying relative contraction as the company expects total sales to grow by 25%. Major ASML customers such as Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. and Intel are working on capacity expansions.

ASML has never sold its most advanced “EUV” machines to customers in China, and the majority of its DUV sales in China go to relatively less sophisticated chipmakers. The largest South Korean customers, Samsung and SK Hynix, both have significant production capacity in China.

The Dutch announcement leaves big questions unanswered, including whether ASML will be able to service the more than €8 billion worth of DUV machines it has sold to customers in China since 2014.

Schreinemacher said the Dutch government had taken measures “as carefully and precisely as possible … to avoid unnecessary disruption of value chains”.

“It is important for companies to know what they are dealing with and have time to adapt to new regulations,” she wrote.

Japan is expected to provide an update on its chip equipment export policy this week.

Reporting by Toby Sterling; Edited by Mark Potter, Anna Driver and Mark Porter

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Principles of Trust.


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