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Chip Clash Heats Up: China Presses Netherlands After ASML Blocks Key Exports

Published: 1.8.2024

Tensions between China and the Netherlands flared after chipmaking giant ASML confirmed that it canceled DUV shipments of critical equipment to China, reportedly at the request of the US government. 

ASML, the world's leading supplier of lithography machines essential for semiconductor production, had licenses revoked for specific high-end deep ultraviolet (DUV) systems destined for China. According to Digitimes Asia, the latest US export rules published October 17, 2023, impose restrictions on certain mid-critical DUV immersion lithography systems for a limited number of advanced production facilities. 

This move, just ahead of a Dutch export ban taking effect, triggered a response from Beijing, urging the Netherlands to respect market principles and avoid becoming a pawn in a broader technological rivalry. 

China strongly condemned the move, viewing it as an unfair restriction on its technological progress. Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian stated, "The Dutch government's decision seriously harms the legitimate rights and interests of Chinese companies. We urge the Netherlands to adhere to the principles of free trade and fair competition, and not to be used as a tool by certain forces to hinder China's development." 

Analysts warn that this incident could significantly impact the global chip supply chain, already reeling from ongoing shortages and trade disputes. China, a major consumer and producer of semiconductors, could face delays in its chipmaking ambitions, potentially affecting various industries reliant on advanced chips. 

Meanwhile, the Netherlands finds itself caught in the middle of a high-stakes tech war. Balancing its economic ties with China and its security alliance with the US presents a delicate challenge for the Dutch government. Navigating this complex situation without further damaging diplomatic relations or hindering global chip production will be crucial in the coming months. 

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