ASML, a Dutch semiconductor equipment maker, says “rules are being finalized” on export controls, amid reports that the Netherlands and Japan have joined United States to restrict sales of certain computer chip machines to China.
“We understand that steps have been taken towards a government-to-government agreement which we believe will focus on advanced chip manufacturing technology, including but not limited to lithography tools. advanced,” the company told CNN Friday night in response to questions. on export controls to China.
“Before it comes into force, it needs to be detailed and implemented into legislation, which will take time.”
ASML is known for its prowess in manufacturing lithography machines, which use light to print patterns on silicon. The firm says this step is crucial in the mass production of microchips.
The company’s response came as Bloomberg, the Wall Street Journal and the Financial Times reported over the weekend that the United States had persuaded the Netherlands and Japan to agree to limit exports of certain equipment from chip manufacturing to China, citing unnamed sources.
A deal was reached at the White House on Friday, though it hasn’t been officially announced, in part because of “concerns from Japan and the Netherlands about possible retaliation from China,” according to the Journal. , which quotes a person familiar with the matter.
Bloomberg said the deal would “extend certain export controls that the United States adopted in October” to Dutch and Japanese companies, including ASML (ASML), Nikon (NINOY) and Tokyo Electron.
The Biden administration had banned Chinese companies from buying advanced chips and chipmaking equipment without a license. It has also restricted the ability of US citizens to provide support for the development or production of chips at some manufacturing facilities in China.
The White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment outside of U.S. business hours. Nikon and Tokyo Electron declined to comment.
On Saturday, Japan’s Economy and Trade Minister Yasutoshi Nishimura told reporters that he “would refrain from commenting on the diplomatic negotiations”.
Asked about the three-way talks in Washington, Nishimura said “we would like to respond appropriately while considering regulatory trends in each country.”
Due to its dominance in the market, ASML has been cited by experts as an indicator of the growing gap between China and the West over access to advanced technologies.
In recent months, the Dutch government has come under pressure from the United States to limit chip exports to China, particularly from ASML, according to Xiaomeng Lu, director of geotechnology at Eurasia Group.
In its statement on Friday, the company said that, based on what has been said by government officials and current market conditions, it does not expect any material impact on its financial projections for 2023.
But ASML said its knowledge of the new rules was still limited, making it difficult to map “the medium to long-term financial, organizational and global impact of the new industry-wide export control rules”. .
“While these rules are being finalized, ASML will continue to engage with authorities to advise them of the potential impact of any proposed rules to assess the impact on the global semiconductor supply chain,” did he declare.
It noted that it mainly sells “mature” products to China and that its most advanced lithography technology has already been restricted since 2019.
The machines had been banned from being sent to China because the Dutch government had “refused to license it under American pressure”, Lu previously told CNN.
— CNN’s Emiko Jozuka contributed to this report.
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