The Minister for Economic Affairs, Miki Adriansens, swore at the end of last year that we would not surrender to the performance of American power. Her colleague in international trade, Liesje Schreinemacher, stated that the Netherlands will follow its own line in the matter of ASML chip machine manufacturing. I thought good luck.
Because at the beginning of October, President Biden decided to hit China hard. The country had to be denied access to advanced semiconductors, mainly produced using Dutch machines from ASML and Taiwanese TSMC. The official argument was that national security was in danger. Because with these chips, supercomputers can develop advanced weapons. In fact, it is a technical race to prevent China from becoming the most powerful country in the world.
With China having a very different view of the world than the West, there is a lot to be said for the Netherlands to take this fight with the EU and the US. For autocratic China, economics is political, not free trade as it is for us. See Belt and Road Initiative, New Silk Roads. This seems to be about trade, but it is mainly about increasing China’s global influence. The export restrictions on ASML are part of an effort to limit this impact and preserve as much as possible the liberal world order with its focus on democracy, human rights, and American leadership.
There is no special line
The ASML case also shows that this company is too big for politics in The Hague. In a manner of speaking, President Biden has only to threaten to limit KLM’s landing rights in the US, and Holland will handle that. So there is no special line or force impact resistance.
If you want to organize resistance, you have to do it via the European Union. Only then can the Netherlands take a stand against countries that want to harm us. America, like China, has a more difficult task with the European Commission than it did with the Rota government. Incidentally, this argues in favor of the issuance of export licenses to these types of companies by Brussels.
Brussels can also forge global alliances of like-minded countries, enabling us to better protect our commercial interests or access to raw materials and energy. Trade agreements are the appropriate means for this. In doing so, you attract those countries to you and create interdependencies. Thus trade agreements are increasingly becoming tools of power politics.
Sustainability goals are very weak
Unfortunately, none of this reached a large part of the House of Representatives and a small part of the Cabinet. ChristenUnie supported the Animal Party’s proposal to force the government to block the Mercosur Treaty with South American countries. According to CU party leader Mirjam Bikker, the sustainability goals in this treaty are too weak and our farmers are the victims. in devotion She says she fears that the floodgates for cheap meat will be opened, so that Dutch farmers who are already suffering from the nitrogen measures will become victims.
Here, the international treaty is linked to the nitrogen problem created by the Netherlands itself, and the European Union is denied a position. This, as the ASML case demonstrates once again that the New World Order is still an unknown phenomenon in The Hague.
Rob de Wijk is Professor of International Relations and Security at Leiden University and founder of the Hague Center for Strategic Studies (HCSS). He writes weekly on international relations. Read his columns here.
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