US Pushes for Stricter Semiconductor Export Limits to China, Official Heads to Japan

By Madz Dizon

Jun 18, 2024 10:55 PM EDT

US Pushes for Stricter Semiconductor Export Limits to China, Official Heads to Japan
This photo taken on November 19, 2018 shows workers checking laptop parts in a factory in the Hangyong Auto Industrial Park, in Lu'an City, in China's Anhui Province. - The factory produces equipment for Toshiba, Matsushita and other international brands.
(Photo : STR/AFP via Getty Images)

A US official is en route to Japan following a meeting with the Dutch government. The purpose of this visit is to urge allies to take stronger measures against China's capacity to manufacture advanced semiconductors.

This information was shared by an individual familiar with the situation, as reported by Reuters on Tuesday (June 18).

US Aims to Prevent China From Exporting Semiconductors

Alan Estevez, the US export policy chief, was once again working to enhance a 2023 agreement between the three countries aimed at preventing China from acquiring chipmaking equipment that could potentially strengthen its military capabilities.

In 2022, the United States implemented extensive limitations on the export of advanced chips and chipmaking equipment to China. Companies such as Nvidia and Lam Research, both based in California, were affected by these restrictions.

In July of last year, Japan, which is home to chip equipment manufacturers Nikon Corp and Tokyo Electron, made the decision to restrict the export of 23 types of equipment. These machines range from those that deposit films on silicon wafers to devices that etch out microscopic circuits.

Following government regulations, the Netherlands-based company ASML (ASML.AS) faced restrictions on its deep ultra violet (DUV) semiconductor equipment.

The US imposed limitations on the export of DUV machines to certain Chinese factories, citing jurisdiction due to the presence of U.S. parts and components in ASML's systems. ASML is widely recognized as the leading manufacturer of chip equipment globally.

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US Discusses Chinese Chipmaking Expansion

According to a source, Washington is currently engaging in discussions with its allies regarding the potential addition of 11 additional Chinese chipmaking factories to a restricted list.

The list currently includes five factories, with SMIC, China's largest chipmaker, among them. The United States has expressed its desire to gain control over more chipmaking equipment.

In April, US officials made a visit to the Netherlands with the aim of preventing ASML from providing maintenance for specific equipment in China.

According to US regulations, American companies are prohibited from providing maintenance services for equipment in advanced Chinese factories.

According to a source, the ASML servicing contracts remain intact due to the limitations of the Dutch government's jurisdiction.

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