The US government wants chip machine maker ASML to stop supplying older generations of machines to Chinese companies. This was reported by Bloomberg News based on insiders. The United States is putting pressure on the Netherlands to extend an export ban, which currently applies only to the latest generation of chip machines. For example, China’s plans to become a leading chip maker should be postponed.
At the end of May and the beginning of June, US Deputy Secretary of Commerce Don Graves visited the Netherlands and Belgium. He was going to put the item on the agenda. During that visit, Graves also visited ASML and met CEO Peter Wennink. The Netherlands has not made any commitments so far as this could seriously damage its trade position with China.
ASML has not been able to sell its most advanced wafer machines, the so-called extreme ultraviolet or EUV machines, to China for some time. Under former President Donald Trump, Washington banned the export of high-tech technologies to China. EUV machines fall under the Wassenaar arrangement. This international treaty restricts the export of weapons to certain countries, but it also restricts the export of modern technology that can be used for military purposes.
Now the US also wants to ban deep-ultraviolet machines, or DUVs, from exporting to China. Although this is an old technology, the majority of chips worldwide are still made using these chip machines.
ASML tells Bloomberg that the discussion is not new. “No decisions have been made and we are not willing to speculate or respond to rumours,” a spokeswoman said. Wennink previously announced that ASML is against banning the export of DUVs because this is already a fully developed technology.
ASML is the leading manufacturer of lithographic machines that allow structures to be applied to wafers. Deliveries to chip factories in China, which are owned by both Chinese and foreign chip makers, accounted for just under 15 percent of ASML’s revenue in 2021.
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