The US government wants chip machine maker ASML to stop supplying its older generation machines to Chinese companies. This was reported by Bloomberg news agency based on insiders. The US is pressuring the Netherlands to extend the export ban, which currently only applies to the latest generation of chip machines. For example, China’s plans to become a leading chipmaker must be abandoned.
In late May and early June, US Under Secretary of Commerce Dan Graves visited the Netherlands and Belgium. He would have put it as an item on the agenda. During that visit, Graves visited ASML and met CEO Peter Wennink. The Netherlands has yet to make any commitments as it would seriously damage its trade position with China.
ASML has been unable to sell its advanced chip machines, known as extreme ultraviolet machines, or EUV, to China for some time. Under the administration of former President Donald Trump, Washington imposed a ban on the export of high-tech technologies to China. EUV machines fall under the Wassenaar arrangement. This international agreement restricts the export of weapons to certain countries, but also modern technology that can be used for military purposes.
Now the US also wants to ban deep ultraviolet machines, or DUVs, from being exported to China. Although this is an old technology, most chips worldwide are still manufactured using these chip machines.
ASML tells Bloomberg the debate is not new. “No decisions have been made and we do not wish to speculate or respond to rumours,” a spokesperson said. Wennink previously announced that ASML is against the export ban on DUV machines because it is already a fully developed technology.
ASML is a leading manufacturer of lithography machines that allow structures to be applied to chips. Deliveries to chip factories in China, owned by both Chinese and foreign chipmakers, accounted for less than 15 percent of ASML’s revenue in 2021.
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