US Pressures Netherlands and Japan to Tighten Chipmaking Equipment Restrictions on China

US chipmaking restrictions, China semiconductor restrictions, Alan Estevez, chip equipment export controls, US-Japan semiconductor policy, US-Netherlands chip policy, ASML, Nikon Corp, Tokyo Electron, SMIC, China chip industry, semiconductor export ban

The US intensifies efforts to curb China’s access to advanced semiconductor technology by pressuring allies, including the Netherlands and Japan, to impose stricter export controls on chipmaking equipment. Learn about the geopolitical and economic implications of these restrictions on the global semiconductor industry.

US Pressures Netherlands and Japan to Tighten Chipmaking Equipment Restrictions on China
US Pressures Netherlands and Japan to Tighten Chipmaking Equipment Restrictions on China

US Pushes Netherlands, Japan to Restrict More Chipmaking Equipment to China

In a continued effort to curb China’s advancements in semiconductor technology, the United States is seeking further cooperation from its allies. A U.S. official, Alan Estevez, the chief of export policy, recently traveled to Japan following discussions with the Dutch government. The aim is to build on existing agreements and implement stricter controls on the export of chipmaking equipment to China, a source familiar with the matter told Reuters.

Background of Restrictions

The U.S. first imposed significant restrictions in 2022 on the export of advanced chips and chipmaking equipment to China. These measures targeted companies such as Nvidia and Lam Research, aiming to prevent China from acquiring technology that could enhance its military capabilities. The restrictions are part of a broader strategy to limit China’s ability to produce cutting-edge semiconductors.

Collaborative Efforts with Japan and the Netherlands

In 2023, a tripartite agreement between the U.S., Japan, and the Netherlands aimed to further restrict China’s access to critical chipmaking technologies. Japan, home to major chip equipment manufacturers like Nikon Corp and Tokyo Electron, aligned its policies with the U.S. by restricting the export of 23 types of equipment. These include machines that deposit films on silicon wafers and devices that etch microscopic circuits.

Similarly, the Dutch government began regulating the export of deep ultraviolet (DUV) semiconductor equipment made by ASML, the world’s leading chip equipment maker, to China. The U.S. claimed jurisdiction over these restrictions because ASML’s systems incorporate American parts and components.

Ongoing Discussions and Future Restrictions

Estevez’s recent visits to Japan and the Netherlands are part of ongoing efforts to tighten these controls. Washington is discussing adding 11 more Chinese chipmaking factories to the restricted list, which currently includes five, among them SMIC, China’s largest chipmaker. Additionally, the U.S. seeks to expand the scope of restricted chipmaking equipment.

A spokesperson for the Dutch Foreign Ministry confirmed the meeting with U.S. officials, highlighting the continuous contact between allies regarding export policy and security. Previous U.S. visits to the Netherlands, including one in April, aimed to prevent ASML from servicing certain equipment in China. However, these servicing contracts remain in place due to the Dutch government’s limited extraterritorial enforcement capabilities.

Implications for ASML and Chinese Technological Advancements

ASML has indicated that while it expects to service most of the billions of euros worth of equipment it has sold to China, it cannot use U.S.-sourced spare parts subject to American restrictions. This situation underscores the complexity and global interdependence of the semiconductor supply chain.

Despite these efforts, China has shown resilience. Last year, Huawei, a Chinese telecom giant under U.S. sanctions, released the Huawei Mate 60 Pro, a smartphone powered by a sophisticated chip. This move was seen as a demonstration of China’s technological prowess, challenging Washington’s attempts to stymie its progress.

Broader Strategic Context

The U.S.’s push to restrict chipmaking equipment to China is part of a broader geopolitical strategy. By limiting China’s access to advanced semiconductor technologies, the U.S. aims to maintain its technological edge and prevent China from gaining capabilities that could pose a strategic threat. This strategy involves close coordination with allies who play crucial roles in the global semiconductor supply chain.

Challenges and Controversies

The imposition of export controls and the enforcement of these restrictions pose several challenges. For one, the global semiconductor supply chain is highly integrated, with components and technologies crossing multiple borders. This interconnectedness makes it difficult to enforce unilateral restrictions without affecting global markets and allied economies.

Additionally, there are concerns about the long-term impacts of these restrictions on innovation and competitiveness. Restricting access to advanced technologies could slow down technological advancements and affect the global semiconductor industry.

Diplomatic and Economic Repercussions

The U.S.’s strategy to curb China’s semiconductor capabilities also has diplomatic and economic repercussions. It requires convincing allies to align their policies with U.S. objectives, which can be challenging given their own economic interests. For instance, Japan and the Netherlands have significant commercial ties with China, and restricting exports can affect their domestic industries and economic growth.

Furthermore, these measures can lead to retaliatory actions from China. Beijing could impose its own restrictions or seek alternative sources of technology, potentially leading to the fragmentation of the global technology ecosystem.

The Road Ahead

As the U.S. continues to push for tighter restrictions on chipmaking equipment exports to China, the situation remains fluid. The outcome of these efforts will depend on the willingness of allies to cooperate and the effectiveness of enforcement mechanisms. It will also hinge on China’s responses and its ability to innovate and develop indigenous technologies.

In the coming months, the U.S. is likely to intensify its diplomatic efforts to build a coalition of allies committed to restricting China’s access to advanced semiconductor technologies. This coalition will need to balance national security concerns with economic interests, navigating the complexities of the global semiconductor supply chain.


The U.S.’s ongoing efforts to restrict chipmaking equipment exports to China represent a critical front in the broader technological and geopolitical competition between the two countries. By securing the cooperation of key allies like Japan and the Netherlands, the U.S. aims to limit China’s ability to produce cutting-edge semiconductors and enhance its military capabilities.

However, the success of these efforts will depend on multiple factors, including the alignment of allied policies, the enforcement of restrictions, and China’s technological responses. As the global semiconductor landscape continues to evolve, the interplay between national security, economic interests, and technological innovation will shape the future of this critical industry.

The situation underscores the importance of international cooperation and the need for a balanced approach that addresses security concerns while fostering technological progress. As the U.S. and its allies navigate these challenges, the decisions made today will have far-reaching implications for the future of global technology and security.

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