Bloomberg sources claim that the US government is lobbying for a trade ban on ASML and China. After the announcement, ASML’s share price dropped by almost 5 percent.
The sources are anonymous to avoid sanctions. According to the sources, US officials are urging the Dutch government to limit trade between ASML and China.
ASML works with the world’s largest chip manufacturers. The Dutch organization develops manufacturing machines. Between 2019 and 2022, its market value grew by more than $100 billion.
The sources claim that the Netherlands was visited by a senior US official in June. State Secretary Don Graves travelled to ASML’s local headquarters. Graves reportedly spoke with ASML CEO Peter Wennink.
According to the sources, the US government wants to ban the sale of ASML’s DUV machines to Chinese customers. DUV (deep ultraviolet) machines are much older than the latest models, but nevertheless popular among car and smartphone chip manufacturers.
The US and China are waging a trade war. Ex-President Trump introduced several tarrifs on the import of Chinese products. President Biden is pushing limitations on the export of US technology to China.
ASML is an important supplier for Chinese manufacturers such as Hua Hong Semiconductor and Semiconductor Manufacturing International. ASML exclusively exports older models to China, including DUV machines. The export of modern EUV machines was banned in 2020 under the Wassenaar Arrangement, an international treaty. Since then, the US has been trying to extend the trade ban to DUV machines.
Bloomberg asked the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs for a response, but received no answer. ASML got on the line. “The discussion is not new”, a spokesperson said. “No decisions have been made and we do not want to speculate or comment on rumors.”
ASML knows the game. The organization has a limited supply of key products. In 2021, ASML shipped a just over 40 EUV machines, one of the most sought-after series. Customers like TSMC, Intel and Samsung heavily compete to avoid shortages. In June, ASML’s headquarters were visited by Lee Jae-yong, Samsung’s vice chairman. Last year, the organization welcomed Ursula von der Leyen, President of the European Commission.