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Irish Independent
Irish Independent
Stephanie van den Berg, Toby Sterling

Dutch tightlipped as US pushes restrictions on tech sales to China

Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte. Photo: Piroschka van de Wouw/Reuters

Netherlands Prime Minister Mark Rutte says it is not clear whether his government will disclose the result of ongoing talks with the US over new export restrictions for the semiconductor industry.

US officials have said they expect the Netherlands and Japan soon to adopt restrictions similar to those introduced for US companies in October, aimed at hobbling China’s domestic chipmaking industry. A Dutch delegation  was in the US on Friday for talks.

Netherlands-based ASML Holding, a key supplier to chipmakers, could see at least some of its $2.4bn (€2.2bn) in annual sales to China affected by the decision.

“Those talks have been going on for a long time and we’re not saying anything about it,” Mr 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.”

Asked whether ASML would not need to be informed of the decision in order to implement new restrictions, Mr Rutte said government communications with the company “are also private”.

ASML CEO Peter Wennink told Reuters on Wednesday Chinese chipmakers are already adjusting their plans to account for new restrictions seen as likely and he expects sales to China to be flat in 2023 while ASML group sales rise by 25pc.

Mr 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.

He said the talks were ongoing with “many countries” and they are aimed at maintaining technological leadership, and preventing “the best technology be used in defence systems where you don’t want it.”

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