2 min

Peter Wennink, the CEO of the EU’s highest-valued tech company said that Europe should not block exports of high-end technology to China, because doing so will only speed up Beijing’s plans to become superior in tech.

The head of the Dutch chip printing giant ASML said that the EU should get tough with China, over intellectual property, and level the playing field for trade.

However, he said that closing off exports of high-end tech, as favored by Washington, may not be the way to go. Wennink said all this while speaking to Politico in ASML’s Veldhoven tower.

The EU’s plan

Wennink said that if the EU shuts out the Chinese with export control measures, it will only force Beijing to work toward tech sovereignty. According to his estimates, Wennink said that in 15 years, they will be able to do everything for themselves and their market for EU suppliers will be gone.

The comments come as the bloc is trying to position itself against the raging China-US trade war, while the spotlight is squarely aimed at microchips.

The EU, which is working towards reducing its dependence on foreign tech, has set a goal to control 20% of the world’s semiconductor market by 2030, up from 10% today.

The issue of tech sovereignty

Europe has not been immune from disruptions to the chip shortage, with the automotive sector hit pretty hard, giving the bloc more incentive to be a leader in the industry. Wennink proposes a longstanding but increasingly criticized policy of working towards mutual dependency with China.

A relationship like that would ensure that the EU can nudge China toward more EU-friendly decisions.

It is a complex problem with multiple propositions to solve it but currently, we can only wait and see how this plays out.