Paul van Gerven
19 February 2020

US President Donald Trump has rebuked plans of his own administration to further restrict supply of technology to China. “I have seen some of the regulations being circulated, including those being contemplated by Congress, and they are ridiculous,” Trump tweeted. Soon after he told reporters that he doesn’t want to sacrifice US companies on the basis of “fake national security”. “I want our companies to be allowed to do business. I mean, things are put on my desk that have nothing to do with national security, including with chipmakers and various others.”

According to political observers, forces in the Trump administration want to cut off China from all things high-tech as much as possible, whether they are supplied by US or foreign companies. Recently, it came to light that regulations are being mulled to clamp down on supplying China with products that are manufactured overseas using US technology (which would affect TSMC, for example). Reportedly, another option being considered is lowering the limit of US technology content in non-US products in order to subject them to export control regulations, (which could affect ASML).

At least when it comes to American companies, however, these forces now seem to have hit a roadblock: Trump himself.