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US officials to push Dutch govt on China chip curbs

Senior US officials plan to visit the Netherlands next week to pressure the Dutch government to toughen its China chip equipment curbs, as the Biden administration ramps up its campaign to thwart Beijing’s technology ambitions.

US Under Secretary of Commerce for Industry and Security Alan Estevez, who’s responsible for implementing export controls, will be part of the delegation, according to people familiar with the matter, who spoke on condition of anonymity as the information is not yet public. Officials from the White House National Security Council will join Estevez, one of the people said.

Washington is pushing allies including the Netherlands to further tighten restrictions on China’s access to semiconductor technology to plug holes in export controls it’s levied against Chinese firms over the past two years, Bloomberg News reported last month.

Biden officials are urging the Netherlands to stop ASML Holding NV from servicing and repairing sensitive chip-making equipment that Chinese clients purchased before limits on sales of those devices were put into place this year. Estevez said in late March that the US indeed is pushing for allies to tighten servicing for semiconductor machines in China.

Read More: US Urges Allies to Squeeze China Further on Chip Technology

A Dutch Foreign Trade Ministry spokesperson confirmed the meeting was set for Monday. The spokesperson added that while the Netherlands has good relations with its partners, each country must make its own decisions based on technological and geopolitical developments.

Spokespeople for the US Department of Commerce and White House didn’t immediately response to requests for comment, while a spokesperson for ASML declined to comment. Reuters reported plans for the visit earlier Thursday.

Washington has restricted US chip equipment suppliers including Applied Materials Inc. from servicing their equipment deployed at blacklisted Chinese entities. The Netherlands, meanwhile, does not have similar bans on its companies.

China has been vocal about the US-led campaign to limit its access to critical technologies. Chinese President Xi Jinping criticized “technological barriers” during Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte’s visit to Beijing late last month. Bloomberg

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