14th June 2024

Fears that ASML’s laptop chip tools will likely be used for Chinese language navy ends underlie latest selections to disclaim the corporate export licences, the Dutch commerce minister stated in solutions to questions from parliament.

Netherlands-based ASML, Europe’s largest tech agency, dominates the world marketplace for lithography programs, wanted by laptop chip makers to assist create circuitry.

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“China focuses on overseas experience, together with Dutch experience within the area of lithography, to advertise self-sufficiency in its military-technical growth,” Commerce Minister Geoffrey van Leeuwen wrote in a Feb. 5 notice, seen by Reuters.
Van Leeuwen stated that ASML instruments are used to make superior semiconductors that may go into “high-value weapons programs and weapons of mass destruction” and the Dutch authorities focuses on “the danger of undesirable finish use” when reviewing export licensing selections.

Below stress from america, the Dutch authorities final yr launched a licensing requirement for ASML’s mid-range DUV machines. The corporate’s most superior instruments have by no means been bought in China.

The questions posed by lawmaker Femke Zeedijk of the reformist NSC get together requested why the federal government initially granted, then rapidly retracted, a license for ASML to export a number of instruments to undisclosed clients in China. The corporate has bought lots of of thousands and thousands of euros price of such instruments to Chinese language clients lately.

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Van Leeuwen’s solutions dodged that query, including that “a number of licences for the export to China of superior semiconductor tools have been granted” for the reason that licensing requirement was launched in September. It stated it anticipates round 20 such requests in complete this yr, with out specifying what number of will come from China. Based on forecasts by trade group SEMI, round 18 Chinese language chip vegetation will come on-line this yr, greater than in every other geographical area. Many Chinese language chipmakers are specializing in constructing older generations of chips and utilizing tools that doesn’t fall beneath export management insurance policies.

A few of Zeedijk’s questions, equivalent to whether or not the Netherlands had revoked the licenses on the request of the U.S. authorities, went unanswered.

“I am not saying that there aren’t any safety points or that this choice was improper, however I wish to be higher knowledgeable,” Zeedijk informed Reuters on Monday.

“The notion can also be that moreover the safety threat, that there are additionally financial causes behind it.”

ASML confirmed on New Yr’s Day the Dutch authorities had revoked a licence, following a report by Bloomberg Information.

The ensuing cancellations didn’t impression ASML’s fourth-quarter earnings, however the Deep Ultraviolet instruments in query price roughly $60 million every and can be an essential a part of buyer plans.

In January, ASML stated it expects gross sales to China will stay “stable” in 2024 after an distinctive 2023. The corporate stated it doesn’t count on to ship any of its NXT:2000i or extra superior instruments to China beneath the Dutch licensing regime, and that it won’t be able to export its NXT:1970 and NXT:1980i product traces to “a handful” of Chinese language vegetation, as a result of US restrictions.

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