The Netherlands’ Prime Minister Mark Rutte said on Friday it was not clear whether his government will disclose the result of ongoing talks with the US over new chip export curbs against China.
“Those talks have been going on for a long time and we’re not saying anything about it,” Rutte said. “It’s really in doubt that if something comes out of them, that it will be very visible. We’ll have to see.”
Japan and the Netherlands will soon agree to join the United States in implementing curbs on exports of chip making equipment to China, media reports said on Friday. The development will be a major diplomatic win for the US, which aims to hobble China’s domestic chipmaking industry.
Officials from the Netherlands and Japan were in Washington on Friday to discuss a wide range of issues, including restricting exports of semiconductor manufacturing equipment to China.
John Kirby, the White House national security spokesperson, earlier said the officials were talking about issues that are “important to all three of us.”
“And certainly the safety and security of emerging technologies is going to be on that agenda,” he told reporters.
Rutte’s government has previously signalled it intends to reach some agreement with the US over export controls, but that it will not simply adopt the US rules. The Biden administration had, in October, announced sweeping restrictions on Beijing’s access to US chipmaking technology.
Rutte said on Friday the talks were ongoing with “many countries”. The discussions are aimed at maintaining technological leadership and preventing “the best technology be used in defence systems where you don’t want it.”
“But also how do you ensure at the same time that you don’t damage supply lines,” he said.
Netherlands-based ASML Holding, a key supplier to chipmakers, could see at least some of its $2.4 billion in annual sales to China affected by the decision.
Asked whether ASML would not need to be informed of the decision in order to implement new restrictions, Rutte said government communications with the company “are also private.”
Japanese firms would still be able to sell non-advanced products to China under the regulation, and any dip in shipments to Chna could be covered in the medium-to-long term by increasing output to regions such as the United States, Germany and India, said Akira Minamikawa, analyst at research company Omdia.
But the Japanese government and firms may object to the restriction if it includes measures such as a ban on sending engineers to their equipment customers, Minamikawa said, adding: “That would bring too large an impact on their businesses.”
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