The Netherlands and Japan set to join the United States in limiting China’s access to chip technology
WASHINGTON — The Netherlands and Japan, both makers of some of the world’s most advanced equipment for manufacturing semiconductors, agreed on Friday to join the United States in banning some shipments of their most high-tech machines. -tech to China, people close to the deal said. .
The agreement, which follows high-level meetings with U.S. national security officials in Washington, will help expand the reach of sweeping restrictions issued unilaterally by the Biden administration in October on types of semiconductor technologies which can be shared with China.
The countries have not publicly announced the deal, due to its sensitivity, and details remain unclear. But the deal appears likely to put the countries’ tech industries on a level playing field, preventing companies from Japan and the Netherlands from rushing to claim market share in China that has been given up by US firms. American companies have said that this possibility would put them at a disadvantage.
The White House and the Dutch government declined to comment. The Japanese government did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
The United States in October imposed strict controls on the sale to China of semiconductors and the machinery used to make them, arguing that Beijing could use the technology for military purposes, such as breaking American codes or guiding missiles. hypersonic. But long before these restrictions were issued, the United States had pressured the Netherlands and Japan to further limit the cutting-edge technologies they export to China.
The October rules also clamped down on some shipments to China from countries other than the United States. Using a new regulation called the Foreign Direct Product Rule, the Biden administration banned companies that use US technology, software or inputs from selling certain advanced semiconductors to China. But those measures applied only to the chips, not to the machines used to make them.
Instead, the White House continued to pressure its allies to enact restrictions limiting sales of semiconductor manufacturing equipment by companies like Dutch company ASML or Tokyo Electron in Japan. The White House argued that selling these cutting-edge machines to China created the danger that Beijing could one day make its own versions of the cutting-edge products it could no longer buy from the United States.
The negotiations, which are expected to continue, had to overcome both commercial and logistical concerns. Like the Americans, the Dutch and the Japanese feared that if they pulled out of the Chinese market, foreign competitors would take their place, said Emily Benson, senior fellow at the Center for Strategic and International Relations, a Washington think tank. Over time, this “could impact their ability to maintain a technological edge over competitors,” she said.
The Dutch government has already banned the sale of its most advanced semiconductor machines, called extreme ultraviolet lithography systems, to China. But the United States encouraged the Dutch to also limit a somewhat less advanced system, called deep ultraviolet lithography.
Governments have also faced questions about whether they have the legal authority to issue restrictions like the United States, as well as deep technical discussions about which technologies to restrict. Japan and the Netherlands will likely still need time to change their laws and regulations to put in place new restrictions, Ms Benson added, and it could take months or years for the restrictions in the three countries. are reflected.