Paul van Gerven
26 January 2021

Semiconductor equipment trade organization Semi has urged the Biden administration to review current US technology export restrictions and to align with governments of other equipment exporting countries in this matter. “Semi has consistently maintained that multilateral controls create a level playing field, maximize effectiveness and minimize harm to US national security and economic competitiveness. When used instead as a unilateral tool of US industrial policy, any potential short-term benefit to national security is likely to erode over time as the global competitiveness of the controlled industry is ultimately weakened,” argued Semi CEO Ajit Manocha in a letter to the US Department of Commerce. Manocha noted that foreign competitors are already marketing their goods as “free from US export control.”

ASML NXE3350B
Credit: ASML

Said export restrictions formally don’t prevent ASML from selling to Chinese customers, since its equipment doesn’t contain enough technology of US origin. Following a diplomatic route, however, the Trump administration successfully pressured the Dutch government into withholding the Veldhoven-based company an export license for EUV scanners to China.

It was previously reported that the Biden administration has no intention to end this blockade. Quite to the contrary, it has a backup plan lined up to prevent EUV scanners going to China, should the Dutch government grant the license after all. Speaking at a conference recently, ASML CEO Peter Wennink confirmed that he doesn’t expect the antagonism between the US and China to ease up after president Biden takes offices.