The United States got its way: Prime Minister Rutte meticulously implements President Biden’s order to ban ASML’s export of its advanced lithographic machines (ASML’s exports to China were curbed, 9/3). Aside from the fact that the Cabinet can do this without the approval of the people’s deputies, I wonder if the following considerations have been addressed (adequately).
In the event of an export ban, China will join hands to develop and produce highly advanced lithography machines by itself. If China is capable of this at some point, we will no longer know what China is or is not capable of.
If China can no longer produce the high-quality chips needed in Chinese products that the Western world depends on, what will that do to our economy? It seems to me that stagnation is the least of all that happens to us.
The export ban may affect ASML so much that the level and pace of investment will be significantly reduced. This has a direct impact on western economies. It also gives the United States a chance to catch up with European technology, for example. After all, the slogan between Democrats and Republicans in the United States is anyway America first.
Finally, the question is whether international security is the real driver behind the export ban. To impede or harm other economies is in the interest of the United States to become number one again. In terms of manufacturing in particular, the United States lags far behind Europe and Asia.
A version of this article also appeared in the March 13, 2023 newspaper
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