Trio of Nations Reach Accord to Restrict China’s Chipmaking Equipment Access
The Biden Administration, the Netherlands, and Japan have reportedly reached an agreement to limit China’s access to advanced chipmaking equipment. According to Bloomberg, the three nations agreed to adopt similar export controls used by the US to prevent companies such as NVIDIA from selling their latest technologies to China. The agreement aims to impose restrictions on companies producing lithography systems, including ASML and Nikon.
The agreement will reportedly include “at least” some of ASML’s immersion lithography machines, which are critical to the production of 5nm and 3nm semiconductors used in the latest smartphones and computers. The move to cut off China from ASML’s products is aimed at freezing the country’s domestic chip industry.
The three nations have not announced the agreement publicly and its implementation could take several months as they work to finalize the legal details. Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte stated that the talks have been ongoing for some time but declined to provide further details.
The Biden Administration’s effort to restrict China’s access to advanced chipmaking machinery comes as China’s leading semiconductor manufacturer, SMIC, reportedly began volume production of 14nm chips and started making 7nm silicon without access to foreign chip-making equipment. However, it remains unclear how the company will continue to progress without access to EUV machines.