Printer that can leave China without advanced chips

A printer could halt China’s technological development in key sectors such as transportation and telecommunications, as well as defense. It is a device that prints advanced microchips and is produced in only three countries in the world. Two of them, the USA and Japan, have decided not to export such printers to Beijing anymore. The Netherlands, the last member of the elite club, announced that it would do the same soon.

the role of chips

The message from The Hague government comes after months of pressure from Washington, which has sought support from its European and Asian allies to counter China’s ambitions to become a global technology leader. The first step of this strategy is to plunge the production of the last generation of semiconductors into crisis by influencing the global machinery supply chain stretching all the way to Beijing. In late January, the United States signed an agreement with Japan and the Netherlands imposing new restrictions on high-tech exports to China. The Dutch government had not yet taken concrete steps in this direction, at least until yesterday, when signing the agreement.

“Given the technological developments and the geopolitical context, the government has concluded that it is necessary for international security to expand existing export controls on semiconductor-specific manufacturing equipment,” Foreign Trade Minister Liesje Schreinemacher wrote in a letter to parliament. The reference to security is determined by the fact that microchips are the heart of not only electric cars, smart devices, computers and smartphones, but also powerful weapons such as military drones and remotely guided missiles. A few weeks ago, Washington warned its NATO allies that China would be ready to provide military support to Russia.

Also tight on 5G

The problem for the Netherlands is that without Beijing, chip printer sales have suffered a significant drop. In fact, ASML operates in the Netherlands, which is the world leader in the production of such machines, especially the most advanced Duv (deep ultraviolet). China accounts for 18% of the company’s order book, and it is unclear how these restrictions will affect the company’s business and which new customers, if any, will replace the Chinese.

Semiconductor export restrictions are just one branch of the United States’ more nuanced approach to curbing China’s technological development. For Washington, the rationale for this strategy (at least officially) is security, not commercial. The chips are part of the so-called dual-use technologies, that is, they can be used for the manufacture of goods for both civilian use and military purposes. Pressure on TikTok, for example, is part of this strategy. As well as alarms about Huawei’s presence in the construction of 5G networks in Europe. Alarms starting to affect: In Germany, the government is considering removing Chinese components (manufactured by Huawei and Zte) from 5G infrastructure. It is a pity, as the politician pointed out, that 59% of networks already built include technology from Beijing giants.

Source: Today IT