AMSTERDAM (Reuters) – Trade relations between China and the Netherlands would be damaged if the Dutch supplier of semiconductor equipment ASML (ASML.AS) cannot send its newest machines to China, the Beijing ambassador to the Netherlands said on Wednesday.
FILE PHOTO: The ASML Holding logo is seen at the company's headquarters in Eindhoven, the Netherlands, on January 23, 2019. REUTERS / Eva Plevier / File Photo
Reuters reported last week that the Netherlands had withheld the license that ASML needs to export its newest machines to China following pressure from the US government. UU.
ASML, one of the largest companies in the Netherlands, is almost monopolistic in lithography, an essential step in the manufacture of computer chips. China has invested billions to develop its flourishing semiconductor industry, but it needs ASML equipment for its chip manufacturers to compete with the best in Taiwan, South Korea and the United States.
"We are concerned that the Netherlands is politicizing our business relationship under US pressure," Chinese Ambassador Xu Hong said in the Het Financieele Dagblad newspaper.
"If this movement continues, of course, it will negatively affect bilateral relations."
After a long trade war, the United States and China are expected to announce a limited trade agreement on Wednesday that will not resolve disputes over technology transfers.
A spokeswoman for the Chinese embassy confirmed that Xu had been interviewed by the newspaper and said the embassy would publish a full transcript later on Wednesday.
In the interview, Xu said that China was an important export market for the Netherlands.
In 2018, the Netherlands also imported Chinese products worth 39.2 billion euros (43.7 billion dollars), two-thirds of which were exported to other countries.
ASML, which will report year-round earnings next week, has said it cannot send its newest machines without a license, since they are considered "dual-use" products with possible military applications. It says that an export request is being considered.
Prime Minister Mark Rutte told reporters on Friday that the government dealt with dual-use export applications on a case-by-case basis and would not comment on individual cases.
Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Irene Gerritsen said Wednesday that the government received no new response in light of Xu's comments.
"In deciding whether to issue an export license, the Dutch government weighs economic and security interests," he said in a statement sent via email.
Reports by Toby Sterling and Anthony Deutsch; Edition by Mark Potter
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