Paul van Gerven
6 January

The Trump administration has – apparently successfully – pressured the Dutch government to block the export of ASML’s EUV scanners to China. According to Reuters, citing anonymous sources, the US started a lobbying campaign in 2018, possibly after ASML received its first Chinese EUV order (link in Dutch). The issue was also raised when Prime Minister Mark Rutte visited the White House last July. Around the same time, the Dutch didn’t renew the required export license and the scanner reportedly hasn’t yet been shipped.

Credit: ASML

The US government formally has no means to force ASML to stop selling EUV equipment to Chinese customers. It can, however, appeal to the Wassenaar Arrangement, which controls Western exports of goods and technology that potentially have military uses. EUV scanners aren’t specifically included in the Wassenaar List of Dual-Use Goods and Technologies, but lithography equipment featuring a light source wavelength shorter than 193 nanometers and equipment capable of producing 45 nanometer features are. However, the Arrangement isn’t an actual treaty and following the recommendations is at the discretion of individual countries.

A Dutch Foreign Ministry spokeswoman confirmed to Reuters the government has sovereign discretion to grant licenses of sensitive technology, but declined to comment on this specific case. ASML confirmed to Bits&Chips the Chinese EUV order is on hold pending the export license.