Reuters (Washington) -In talks that ended on Friday, the US, the Netherlands, and Japan came to an agreement to stop sending some high-tech chip-making machines to China. This was reported by Bloomberg, which cited people with knowledge of the situation.
The agreement would let companies in the two allies, such as ASML Holding (NASDAQ: ASML) NV, Nikon (OTC: NINOY) Corp., and Tokyo Electron Ltd., use some export controls that the US put in place in October.
Jake Sullivan, the White House’s national security adviser, led talks between officials from the Netherlands and Japan. They talked about a wide range of issues.
The White House’s national security spokesman, John Kirby (NYSE: KEX), said earlier that the officials were talking about things that were “important to all three of us.”
“And safety and security of new technologies will definitely be on the list,” he told reporters.
A person who knows about the talks said that one of the topics was putting limits on the export of equipment used to make semiconductors to China.
Getting the Netherlands and Japan to put tighter controls on China’s exports would be a big diplomatic win for President Joe Biden’s administration. In October, the administration put a lot of limits on Beijing’s access to U.S. technology for making chips. This was done to slow China’s technological and military progress.
When asked about the Bloomberg story, the White House wouldn’t say anything more than what Kirby had already said.
The Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs and a representative from Japan’s Ministry of Economy, Trade, and Industry both said they had nothing to say about it.
A Nikon representative said that the company couldn’t say anything because it hadn’t been officially announced. When Reuters tried to talk to officials at Tokyo Electron outside of normal business hours, they were not available.
Mark Rutte, the prime minister of the Netherlands, said earlier that it wasn’t clear if his government would say what came out of talks with the US about new export restrictions for the semiconductor industry.
Under the regulation, Japanese companies could still sell non-advanced goods to China, and any drop in shipments to China could be made up for in the medium- to long term by increasing output to places like the US, Germany, and India, said Akira Minamikawa, an analyst at research company Omdia.
Minamikawa said that the Japanese government and businesses might object to the limit if it includes measures like a ban on sending engineers to their equipment customers. “That would have too big of an effect on their businesses,” he said.