The Netherlands, the USA and Japan have concluded an agreement to limit the export of some chip machines to China. The goal is to ban China selling machines for immersion lithography, which are the most modern in this area.
Immersion lithography technology is not as advanced as the technology of scanners for EUV-Litography, which was prohibited for supplying the Netherlands to China back in 2020. However, immersion lithography is considered the following technological step after basic lithography with deep ultraviolet radiation (DUV), which was previously widely used in China by the manufacturer of ASML lithographic scanners. The latter will now lose the opportunity to supply equipment for immersion lithography to China. Similar restrictions will be valid for Japanese suppliers such as Nikon and Tokyo Electron Ltd.
The Prime Minister of the Netherlands Mark Rutte does not comment on the results of negotiations, calling the topic sensitive. The negotiation participants agreed not to make public statements. The application of solutions may take months due to the need to create a legislative framework. Therefore, the mechanisms that will be used to carry out “blockade” remain unclear. Washington also gave partners the opportunity to independently decide how to report on restrictions.
The US Agreement, the Netherlands and Japan to abandon the export of some types of chip machines to China is considered the victory of Biden, who seeks to limit the military promotion of China, cutting it off from the smallest semiconductors in the world. However, this US campaign may have unexpected consequences, including the possibility that “China will begin to develop the technology on its own, and not import it,” said Peter Vennink, chief executive director of the largest semiconductor of ASML semiconductor equipment.