Social Navigation

China criticizes Dutch plan to limit access to smart tools


China has criticized the Netherlands for joining Washington in expanding restrictions on Chinese access to technology to manufacture processor chips that Western governments say could be used in weapons or to commit abuses. human rights

BEIJING — The Chinese government on Thursday criticized the Netherlands for joining Washington in blocking Chinese access to technology to make advanced processor chips on security and human rights grounds.

A Dutch minister told lawmakers on Wednesday that exports of equipment that uses ultraviolet light to burn circuits onto chips would be restricted for safety reasons. ASML from the Netherlands is the only global supplier. Industry experts say the lack of access to ASML’s most advanced technology is a serious handicap to China’s efforts to develop its own chip industry.

In October, Washington blocked Chinese access to American tools to make advanced chips it said could be used in weapons or equipment for the ruling Communist Party’s surveillance apparatus. The Biden administration is pressuring European and Asian allies to tighten their own controls.

A Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman complained that “an individual country”, a reference to the United States, was trying to “safeguard its own hegemony” by misusing national security as an excuse to “deprive China of its right to development”.

“We strongly oppose the Netherlands’ interference and restriction of administrative means of normal economic and trade exchanges between Chinese and Dutch companies,” spokeswoman Mao Ning said. “We have lodged complaints with the Dutch side.”

Mao called on the Netherlands to “safeguard the stability of the international industrial and supply chain”.

ASML’s Extreme Ultraviolet or EUV equipment uses light to etch microscopically precise circuits into silicon, allowing them to be packed together more tightly. This increases their speed and reduces the power demand.

The Dutch government has banned ASML from exporting its most advanced machines to China since 2019, but the company is allowed to supply lower quality systems.

Chinese manufacturers can produce low-end chips used in automobiles and most consumer electronics, but not those used in smartphones, servers and other high-end products.

Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte and US President Joe Biden held talks in January about ASML’s chip machines.

Joanna Swanson

Joanna Swanson is Europe correspondent at the Thomson Reuters Foundation based in Brussels covering politics, culture, business, climate change, society, economies and inclusive tech. With specific focus in breaking news, she has covered some of the world's most significant stories.