America got their way: Prime Minister Rutte deftly executes President Biden’s order to impose an export ban on ASML’s advanced lithography machines (ASML exports to China are restricted, 9/3). Apart from the fact that the cabinet can do this without the consent of the people’s representatives, I wonder whether (enough) attention has been paid to the following consideration.
In the event of an export ban, China will join forces to develop and manufacture more advanced lithography machines. If China is capable of it at some point, we will no longer know what China is or is not capable of.
What will that do to our economy if China can no longer produce the high-quality chips needed for the Chinese products that the Western world depends on? Stagnation seems to me to be the least of what happens to us.
An export ban could affect ASML, with its investment level and pace significantly reduced. This has a direct impact on Western economies. And, for example, it gives America a chance to catch up with European technology. After all, that’s the goal among Democrats and Republicans in America anyway America first.
Finally, the question is whether the real motive behind the export ban is international security. Blocking or disadvantaging other economies would favor the US in regaining the upper hand. Especially in terms of industrialization, the United States lags far behind Europe and Asia.
A version of this article appeared in the March 13, 2023 issue of the newspaper
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