3 min Security

Former ASML CEO Wennink: conflict with China based on politics, not numbers

Former ASML CEO Wennink: conflict with China based on politics, not numbers

Former ASML CEO Peter Wennink is still very troubled by trade restrictions imposed by the United States on ASML for supplying chip manufacturing machines to China. He said these restrictions are not based on demonstrable data but on political views. He does not expect an end to these restrictions for the foreseeable future.

A few months after his departure from ASML, former CEO Peter Wennink spoke with Dutch business channel BNR Nieuwsradio about the trade restrictions on China that the company faces.

The former CEO still finds these US-led restrictions, imposed by the previous Dutch cabinet, very difficult, especially since they prevented him from performing his most important function as stakeholder manager. He saw himself as responsible for balancing the interests of customers, his own employees, suppliers, shareholders, and society.

Crossing all interests

He said the Dutch government’s acceptance of the trade restrictions at the US’s request thwarted his work. Especially the business interests of ASML, the very thing he was hired to promote. According to the former CEO, ASML has been operating in China for over 30 years and, therefore, has certain ‘obligations’.

Wennink indicates that he always tried to look after the interests of other parties. On the one hand, he tried to prevent trade restrictions for his Chinese customers. Still, he also tried to get the Chinese government to act upon Chinese companies abusing the intellectual property of the Veldhoven-based chip machine giant.

Read more: ASML: from a leaky shed to the chip industry’s key player

Facts are always sacred

Wennink still disagrees with the sanctions imposed by the US. In his view, these stem from (geo)political motives and are not based on data, facts, and figures. In the interview with BNR Nieuwsradio, the former CEO indicates that, based on figures, the Biden administration could well have drawn very different conclusions than those now made with ideology-based motives.

The latter doesn’t help one at all as a company, says the former ASML CEO. For him, pure arguments based on numbers are sacred, and he sees it as an obligation to deal with customers in this way.

Restrictions will last for decades

Wennink is pessimistic about the possibility of the trade restrictions with China being lifted. According to him, it will take several decades before the geopolitical developments take a back seat and ‘play out’.

Read also: The US wants the Netherlands to exclude more Chinese companies from using ASML machines