HomeWorldAsiaChinese-Dutch Premiers downplay conflict over ASML

Chinese-Dutch Premiers downplay conflict over ASML

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Beijing, 28 March 2024 (TDI): Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte, following a meeting with President Xi Jinping in Beijing, reassured stakeholders by downplaying tensions between the Netherlands and China over export restrictions on equipment manufactured by Dutch firm ASML.

Earlier this year, the Dutch government initiated the denial of licenses for ASML to export advanced “DUV” tool lines to China. These aligned with the US initiative aimed at controlling chip exports to the world’s second-largest economy.

Questions loomed over whether The Hague would permit ASML to continue servicing the substantial inventory of advanced equipment already sold to Chinese clients, now subjected to export restrictions upon the expiration of current licenses.

During the press briefing, Rutte refrained from addressing inquiries regarding the potential denial of licenses for ASML. The reason was to maintain tools for Chinese customers, echoing sentiments shared by Washington.

Rutte emphasizes the Netherlands’ approach to export restrictions. Rutte underscored that measures concerning the semiconductor sector, including ASML, were never directed at a specific country. He stressed the government’s commitment to minimizing the impact of such measures.

Rutte’s comments underscore the delicate diplomatic balance the Dutch government must maintain, particularly with ASML emerging as a focal point in the US-China “chip war.”

President Xi has prioritized bolstering China’s domestic chipmaking industry. They invested significantly in subsidies. In contrast, the US administration aims to undermine China’s chipmaking capabilities, seeking support from governments like the Netherlands and Japan.

Xi reiterated his concerns to Rutte, underscoring the significance of the ASML issue in bilateral discussions.

The meeting between Rutte and Xi reflects ongoing negotiations amidst heightened tensions in the global semiconductor landscape, with ASML’s role pivotal in the geopolitical dynamics between major economies.

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