Tokyo, Berlin The US is on the verge of a milestone in its semiconductor export restrictions against China: Japanese and international media report unanimously that Japan and the Netherlands want to join the US restrictions.
This would make it more difficult for China to access modern production facilities and thus to modernize its chip industry. Because ASML from the Netherlands and Japan’s Tokyo Electron are among the world’s leading suppliers in this area, after the US manufacturer Applied Materials.
US government officials told Bloomberg on Friday that the US government and allies have agreed on a joint approach to the important issue that is difficult for Japan and the Netherlands.
The USA can drastically complicate the export of semiconductors. When it comes to export restrictions for production facilities, however, they are dependent on the cooperation of their allies.
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For example, ASML dominates the market for equipment used to manufacture the smallest, most advanced chips using extreme ultraviolet light lithography. Tokyo Electron monopolizes the market for coaters/developers, which also require ASML in its systems. In 2021, the two companies agreed to work together on the new device generations.
Potential setback for China
Export restrictions for these systems would therefore be a serious setback for China’s ambitions to become independent of imports by building its own chip industry. Exactly what the deal between Japan and the Netherlands on the one hand and the US on the other looks like is unclear – but the devil is in the details.
When asked, Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte only confirmed that talks with the USA were ongoing. “And if something should come out of it, it is questionable whether it will be made very visible,” says Rutte, referring to the explosive nature of the topic.
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Brussels also pledged its support to the United States. “We cannot allow China to have access to the most advanced technologies,” said EU Internal Market Commissioner Thierry Breton. However, he restricted: “We will limit ourselves to what is necessary from a security perspective.”
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