The Netherlands apparently refrained from delivering high-quality technology to a Chinese state-owned company under pressure from the United States. The US government is said to have put pressure on Dutch prime minister Mark Rutte in 2018 and 2019 to prevent the sale.
After the Dutch technology company ASML had already decided in 2017 to supply a high-quality EUV chip machine to China, the Netherlands had initially issued a delivery license. That procedure appears to have been closed for non-explained reasons.
At the beginning of 2018, the US tried to block sales, but this proved to be possible only if there were 25 percent of American parts in such a machine. The EUV machines from ASML do not reach that threshold. Meanwhile, according to Reuters news agency in the US, consideration is being given to adjusting the rules in this area.
ASML is one of the world's most important chip machine makers and has major customers such as Samsung and Intel. In addition, it is the only maker of extreme ultraviolet (EUV) machines. These are very advanced machines that are used in the production process of chips. These machines are essential to be able to continue making chips for computers and telephones in the coming years.
US Department of Defense officials allegedly discussed the issue at the Dutch embassy in Washington at various times. In addition, the US has personally put Rutte under pressure in a short time, during a meeting with Foreign Minister Pompeo. A month later, the Prime Minister visited President Trump for the second time.
At the beginning of November, Japanese business newspaper Nikkei reported that ASML had placed the order from the Chinese manufacturer SMIC. Sources told the newspaper that ASML did not want to upset the Americans.
ASML confirms that an export license from the Dutch Ministry of Economic Affairs is awaiting because the previous license has expired. It is not clear why export licenses in the Netherlands are apparently time-bound and / or temporary.
The United States is also campaigning under European governments against economic cooperation with the Chinese communications giant Huawei. This concerns the intended European purchase of Chinese equipment with which the telephone and internet network could be intercepted by Beijing.
In the European Union there is an increasing demand that the EU countries should (be able to) develop large and costly technology themselves, but that this does not get off the ground due to mutual disagreements and competition. It is true that this has largely been achieved with the European aircraft manufacturer Airbus, as a counterpart to the American Boeing.
But in many industries and industrial areas, European cooperation is difficult to get off the ground. The result is that European countries still have to rely on purchasing elsewhere for many of their required products.