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Dutch set to comply with U.S. demands on China exports

U.S. demands that chipmaking giant ASML (ASML.AS), opens new tab stop servicing some equipment it has sold to Chinese customers are a diplomatic and business headache for the Dutch government, but signs are it will continue to align with Washington on export restrictions.

Although Prime Minister Mark Rutte’s government is reluctant to make a blanket decision, its public statements and national security interests suggest it will be slow to approve Chinese maintenance requests in future and quick to deny them.

That would be a setback for China’s attempts to build up its domestic chip industry, because ASML gear is almost impossible to replace and will break down over time if not maintained.

But it could also complicate efforts by Rutte’s government to stop ASML Holdings NV, the Netherlands’ biggest company, from moving operations abroad.

One emerging factor is Dutch security priorities, particularly support for Ukraine in its war against Russia.

Rutte, who is favoured to become the next NATO secretary general, discussed ASML with Chinese President Xi Jinping when they met in Beijing last week.

He said afterwards that China’s support for Russia was a serious problem at a time when the Netherlands is arming Ukraine with F-16s.

“It is incredibly important that China understand any victory for Russia (in Ukraine) would pose an immediate threat” to both the Netherlands and Europe, Rutte said.

He declined to answer directly whether his government will deny licences for ASML’s Chinese customers.

Xi told Chinese state media he had warned Rutte against “decoupling and breaking links” with China.


While Beijing says it is neutral on the Ukraine conflict, Xi has a strategic alliance with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

The Netherlands holds Russia responsible for the 2014 downing of Malaysia Flight 17 (MH17) over eastern Ukraine, which killed 198 Dutch citizens. It also houses and supports the Hague-based International Criminal Court which has issued a warrant for Putin’s arrest on war crimes charges…


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