China warns Netherlands over blocked ASML export

January 16, 2020 //By Peter Clarke
China warns Netherlands over blocked ASML export
The Chinese ambassador to The Netherlands has said that there will be negative consequences if his country's trade relationship with the Netherlands continues to become politicized.

The statement was made in an interview conducted by Het Financieele Dagblad and is a reference to the refusal – so far – by the Dutch government to renew a "dual-use" license allowing ASML to export an extreme ultraviolet lithography stepper to China.

It is believed that foundry chip maker Semiconductor Manufacturing International Corp. (Shanghai, China) had an EUV stepper on order with ASML for some time. ASML's Chinese export license had expired on June 30 2019 and no new license was granted in the following eight-week period during which a renewal would normally be considered. This followed a six-month period of lobbying of the Dutch government by the United States administration (see US lobbied hard to deny China EUV lithography).

In the Het Financieele Dagblad article Chinese ambassador Xu Hong was quoted saying: "We are concerned that the Netherlands is politicizing our trade relationship under American pressure. If this movement continues it will of course negatively affect bilateral relations."

There is some hope of an easing of the situation as the US and China on Wednesday signed a "phase-one" trade deal after two-years of a rumbling trade dispute. However, the deal is preliminary and only covers some aspects of their trade and only removes some tariffs. Technology generally and ASML's vital role in semiconductor manufacturing in particular are likely to remain issues of contention.

Next: Phase-one deal


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