The U.S. lobbying began in 2018 after the Dutch government granted ASMC permission to sell advanced equipment to Chinese customers, the report said. The U.S. government has held at least four rounds of talks with Dutch officials. According to Reuters, the White House pressure campaign peaked on July 18, 2018, when Charles Cooperman, the US Deputy national security adviser, raised the issue with Dutch officials during the visit of Dutch Prime Minister Ruud. American pressure seems to have worked. Shortly after the visit to the White House, the Dutch government decided not to renew asmais export license, and the machine has yet to be shipped, the report said.
Lithography machine is the core equipment of chip manufacturing. In the chip manufacturing process, it is necessary to use a lithography machine to carry the circuit diagram to the wafer. With the increasing integration of integrated circuits, the requirements of lithography are more and more stringent. Therefore, lithography is also known as the Pearl of semiconductor manufacturing industry crown. The Reuters report also revealed the multiple means of preventing the flow of sensitive technology to China in the United States. According to the current regulations, the United States not only restricts domestic enterprises from selling high-tech products to China, but also requires third country enterprises to sell high-tech products to China. As long as the proportion of parts manufactured by the United States in these products exceeds 25% of the value of goods, they must obtain the permission of the United States. However, the U.S. Department of Commerce found that the proportion of U.S. parts did not reach 25% after inspecting ASMCs EUV equipment. As there was no way to stop the sale directly, the US government turned to pressure the Dutch government to consider security issues. U.S. Defense Department officials met with Dutch officials several times to discuss the security risks of the sale. Although the Dutch business community asked for the deal to be released, pompeio called on lute to personally block the deal during his visit to the Netherlands in June 2019.
Xiang Ligang, an expert in Chinas communications industry, told the global times on June 6 that at present, only ASMC, the Netherlands, is able to produce such advanced lithography machines in the world. Therefore, the obstruction of the US government is indeed a blow to China. But everything has two sides. Chinese enterprises are not totally incapable of making lithography machines, but from the perspective of commercial principles, it is more cost-effective to directly purchase than to independently research and develop. If facing the most extreme situation and being completely stuck in the neck by the United States, we also have the ability to do independent research and development on our own.
Source: Qiao JunJing, editor in charge of Global Times