Bowing to US pressure, the Netherlands announced export restrictions on the most advanced DUV tools, whose definition is viewed as vague and may not have a material effect on ASML's financial outlook.
According to Reuters and Financial Times, Liesje Schreinemacher, Dutch trade minister, announced in a letter to parliament that the Netherlands plans to introduce new restrictions on exports of chipmaking tools before this summer - without naming China.
The reports quoted Schreinemacher saying that the Netherlands considers it necessary for national security reasons to get this technology into oversight with the greatest speed, without elaborating on what semiconductor manufacturing equipment will be impacted.
ASML said in a statement on its website that the chipmaking equipment supplier will need to apply for export licenses for shipment of the most advanced immersion DUV systems. ASML expects no material effect on its financial outlook for 2023 or for longer-term scenarios announced in November 2022, as it will take time for these controls to be put into legislation and take effect.
ASML further said that the additional export controls focus on 'the most advanced' chip manufacturing technology, including the most advanced deposition and immersion lithography tools, and do not pertain to all immersion lithography tools. However, ASML said the exact definition of 'the most advanced' requires further clarification, and ASML currently interprets this as the TWINSCAN NXT:2000i and subsequent immersion systems.
Japan and the Netherlands have joined the US in clamping down on China's semiconductor ambition. Reuters reported that Japan is expected to issue an update on this as soon as this week.
However, Bloomberg reported that the new rules by the Netherlands might fall short of matching the restrictions imposed by the US on US-based semiconductor equipment providers as the US imposed not only export controls but also cover what products these machines are allowed to make and whether equipment suppliers can send people to work in China for maintenance.
ASML's sales distribution (%)
Rest of Asia
Metrology & Inspection
Source: ASML, January 2023
China's chipmaking tools imports (US$ b)
YoY between 2021 and 2022
Source: China customs, compiled by DIGITIMES Asia March 2023