Netherlands follows US lead with Chinese chip export restrictions

Imports and Exports | | MIC Customs Solutions |

The Netherlands is poised to bring in new export controls on advanced semiconductor technology, with shipments to China expected to be affected.

The Netherlands has announced new export controls on shipments of hi-tech computer chips, following a similar move by the US last year.

In a letter to lawmakers, the country's trade minister Liesje Schreinemacher said the move will impact on "very specific technologies in the semiconductor production cycle", with the measures expected to be in place by the summer.

"The Netherlands considers it necessary on national and international security grounds that this technology is brought under control as soon as possible," she continued.

Although the letter did not single out China, Ms Schreinemacher said the Dutch government had considered "the technological developments and geopolitical context" of the moves.

In October last year, the US announced a ban on exports of the most advanced semiconductors to China, with the measures also requiring firms that use US tools or software to obtain special licenses for exporting chips to China, regardless of where in the world they are manufactured. 

Washington has also been pushing its allies, including the Netherlands and Japan, to enact similar measures.

Commenting on the move, Dexter Roberts, a senior fellow at the Washington-based Atlantic Council, told BBC News the decision will be viewed in many places as a victory for US trade policy and "very bad news for China".

A Chinese official also told Reuters that Beijing strongly opposed the Netherlands' decision and had lodged representations with the nation.

"We hope the Dutch side will adhere to an objective and fair position ... act to safeguard its own interests, and not follow the abuse of export control measures by certain countries," Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson Mao Ning said.

While no specific companies were mentioned in Ms Schreinemacher's letter, it is expected to have a major impact on ASML, Europe's large chipmaker and a key firm in the global semiconductor supply chain.

In a statement, the company said it expected it would have to apply for licenses to export its most advanced Deep Ultra Violet immersion lithography and deposition systems, though it noted that due to the time it is expected to take for the rules to become law, it does not expect any immediate impact on its financial outlook.