Different but related:

The South China Morning Post's November 23, 2022 article The Netherlands resists US call to ban more chip-making equipment sales to China, pledges to defend interests (which looks like it's originally from a paywalled Bloomberg article includes the following:

While ASML hasn’t sold any of its most advanced extreme ultraviolet lithography machines to China because the Dutch government has refused to grant it a license under US pressure, the company can still sell less sophisticated chipmaking systems to the Asian country.

However, US officials have been pressuring the Dutch government to ban the sales of immersion lithography machines, the most advanced kind of gear in ASML’s deep ultraviolet line-up, Bloomberg News has reported. The Biden administration has been working to get allies including the Netherlands and Japan to adopt the sweeping measures it unveiled in early October to ban more chip machines for China.

If I understand correctly, semiconductor fabs in China are already using deep ultraviolet (DUV) immersion lithography tools from ASML in manufacturing, and the US now wants not only to block extreme ultraviolet lithography (EUV) but also any further DUV-immersion equipment and technology from reaching China, something which is already in use there.

  1. Have I got that right?
  2. Can the extension these technology blockings for China into DUV immersion photolithography be seen as a "technology blockade" or "unfair practice" in the context of accepted norms and practices in international trade?

2 Answers 2


Neither. The US government wouldn't be able to block it for the reason of wanting to impose a preferential trade practice. And it's not a blockade because there are no military personal actively involved in blocking the process.

Since the given justification is that it would have military use, it's withholding of a military secret. That is something the government is very much authorized to do.

  • 6
    I disagree. It would be withholding a military secret, if the technology were american. It's a dutch company, though, and the Netherlands doesn't seem to think it's a military secret. The USA opinion should be irrelevant then.
    – Rekesoft
    Nov 28, 2022 at 8:19
  • 1
    The USA may argue that the bits and pieces of American-licensed tech in it are a military secret, but once the USA willingly gave them to a Dutch company to bake in a civilian product, it does seem a weak defence.
    – alamar
    Nov 28, 2022 at 8:22

How about "an attempt to sit on two chairs at once"?

During the last decades, the USA have been positioning themself as an uncontested leader of the world united by free global trade whose superiority stems from having best technologies, science and business practices.

However, blockading China from getting the tech that it wants displays the American insecurity in maintaining its superiority. So in essense they start to copy the Chinese practices of firewalling its economic system instead. Which is naturally better suited to siloed economies world than free trade world.

It is definitely a blockade but it is not an unfair practice for the owner of most advanced economic silo in the world that wants to preserve their advantage. For the leader of free trade world, definitely an unfair practice.


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