ASML export ban will hurt Netherlands relationship with China, ambassador warns
If the Netherlands goes through with its plan to ban ASML from exporting more of its chip machines to China, it will definitely hurt the relationship between the two countries, the Chinese Ambassador Tan Jian said in an interview. The Netherlands will also put its lead in chip technology at risk by cutting itself off from the largest market in the world, the ambassador said, Financieele Dagblad reports.
Earlier this month, Minister Liesje Schreinemacher for Foreign Trade announced that the Netherlands would further restrict the sale of ASML and ASMI machines that make advanced chips. The Netherlands wants to “prevent Dutch goods from contributing to undesirable end uses, like military deployment or in weapons of mass destruction,” she said in a letter to parliament. The United States had been pushing the Netherlands to ban ASML from exporting any chip machines to China. China is the Netherlands’ second biggest trading partner after Germany.
Such restrictions would be “bad for China, bad for the Netherlands and world trade, and will have a negative effect on our relations and economic cooperation,” ambassador Tan said. “This will not be without consequence. I will not speculate on countermeasures, but China will not take this lightly.”
According to Tan, this boycott would undermine international trade rules and the ASML’s top position in global technology. “You are a small country, and you have always been the standard bearer for free trade. You keep your lead by selling to China and reinvesting the proceeds.” He said that if China can’t buy the ASML machines, the country will have no choice but to make its own.
The ambassador said that the Netherlands is clearly capitulating to the United States and its policy to “pressure allies and suppress Chinese growth through coercion, harassment, and domination.” He rejected the Dutch argument that chip machines in Chinese hands could one day pose a military threat to the West. “Let’s not abuse the security argument. This technology is not that advanced at all. This is for consumer use. China has never harmed European interests for hundreds of years.”
A spokesperson for the Ministry of Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation told FD that the objections from China against the export restriction are “understandable.” The Ministry expects that the relationship between the two countries will remain good, the spokesperson said.