ASML can still supply advanced chip machines to China for another four months. Despite export restrictions that went into effect today, DUV (deep ultraviolet) lithography systems can still be shipped for a while.
ASML reported this to the Dutch news outlet NOS. The company also states that many deliveries of these machines have taken place recently, as there had been a backlog built up over the past two years. Other customers had delayed orders during that period, making China an attractive customer for the company.
The export restrictions blocking ASML deliveries of DUV machines to China were announced on June 30. Earlier, Chinese government officials expressed dissatisfaction with such moves, warning that actions from Beijing would be opposed. The newer EUV machines were already unavailable to China. Although this equipment is crucial for chip fabrication, ASML itself has previously explained that it takes care of a single step in the middle of the production process.
Western powers have been curbing trade in advanced technology with China since at least 2018. It began with concerns about Chinese equipment potentially being used to spy on the US. That year, for example, then-President Trump signed the National Defense Authorization Act to bar Huawei and ZTE products from government agencies. Export restrictions, including from the Netherlands, have since been added on top of that. These measures, according to Foreign Trade Minister Schreinemacher, were to ensure that national security was not compromised. She said she wanted to prevent “our technology, Dutch technology” from being “used against us.”
Recently, the United States further tightened export restrictions on advanced chips. AI-capable chips from Nvidia and AMD are also now banned from being sold to various Middle Eastern states. Speculation surrounding this decision suggests that the U.S. government fears the region could act as a conduit to China.