China criticizes the Netherlands for restricting access to technology

THESemiconductors and the technology needed to produce them are becoming increasingly sensitive as Beijing tries to develop its own high-tech industry, which has military implications.

Last October, Washington blocked Chinese companies and entities from accessing North American technology used to make the most advanced semiconductors and is pushing European and Asian allies to apply the same restrictions.

The Dutch trade minister said, in a letter sent to parliament on Wednesday, that national security concerns require stricter controls on exports of technology that uses ultraviolet light to write circuits on the most advanced “chips”.

The ASML company is the only global provider of this type of technology.

Based in the southern city of Veldhoven, the company is the only machine producer in the world that uses extreme UV lithography to manufacture advanced semiconductor ‘chips’. The Dutch government banned ASML from exporting some of its machinery to China in 2019, but the company continued to sell lower-quality lithography systems to the Asian country.

A foreign ministry spokeswoman accused one country of trying to “preserve its own hegemony,” misusing national security as an excuse, to “deprive China of its right to development,” referring to the United States.

“We are strongly opposed to interventions [dos Países Baixos] in normal economic and trade exchanges between Chinese and Dutch companies,” spokeswoman Mao Ning said.

He added that Beijing “has already made complaints” with the Dutch side.

Mao called on the Netherlands to “safeguard the stability of the international industrial and supply chain.”

Industry analysts say China’s lack of access to technology developed by ASML is a serious handicap in Beijing’s efforts to develop a domestic chip industry. Chinese suppliers can produce low-cost components used in cars and most electronic products, but not those used in mobile phones, servers and other products.

Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte and US President Joe Biden spoke in January about the machines developed by ASML.

ASML’s extreme UV equipment uses light to etch microscopically precise circuits on silicon, allowing the circuits to be grouped closer together. This increases your speed and reduces power usage.

Also Read: China slams US ‘protectionism’ in electronic chip trade

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