Home » Chinese leader warns Dutch not to put up barriers in wake of tech export ban

Chinese leader warns Dutch not to put up barriers in wake of tech export ban

“Artificially creating scientific and technological barriers and fragmenting industrial and supply chains will only lead to division and confrontation.”

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The Netherlands is the home of ASML, the world’s biggest developer of advanced semiconductor equipment for chip makers, and the country has found itself caught in the middle of the tech war between the United States and China as Washington pushes its allies to help exclude Beijing from access to the most cutting-edge semiconductors.

The Dutch government has restricted the company from exporting its deep ultraviolet lithography systems to China since the start of the year, having banned it from selling its most advanced extreme ultraviolet lithography machines since 2019 – but it insists that the chip export policy is not the result of pressure from the US.

The Chinese statement did not mention ASML or any specific companies. Instead it struck a positive tone, saying relations have “have developed steadily and rapidly” in recent years and the Netherlands has become a “gateway” for China-Europe cooperation.

Xi said that China is ready to expand imports of high-quality Dutch goods and welcomes investment.

Chinese President Xi Jinping welcomes Rutte to Beijing. Photo: Xinhua

He also called on the two countries to tap the potential for cooperation in areas such as artificial intelligence and green transformation, while continuing to “actively” work together on agriculture, water conservancy and energy.

“China is willing to maintain exchanges with the Netherlands at all levels,” Xi said, urging the country to continue to play “an active role” in advancing mutual understanding between China and Europe.

Besides meeting the Dutch leader, Xi also met a delegation of prominent American business leaders and academics in Beijing on Wednesday to press home his message that China’s economy is resilient and open to foreign investment.

The Netherlands is China’s second largest trading partner in the European Union. In dollar terms, China’s imports from the Netherlands grew 26.6 per cent from a year earlier in January and February this year, but exports fell 21.2 per cent, according to Chinese customs data.

Rutte said the Netherlands values its friendly relations with Beijing and is ready to facilitate people-to-people exchanges and strengthen cooperation in trade, economics and carbon emission reduction, according to the Chinese statement.

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The Dutch prime minister also met Chinese Premier Li Qiang on Wednesday, who said China has always believed that cooperation is the key to China-EU relations, adding that the Netherlands was one of the first European countries to recognise the People’s Republic of China more than 70 years ago.

“It is hoped that the European side will be prudent in introducing restrictive economic and trade policies and utilising trade remedies,” Li said.

“China is willing to work together with the European side to push forward the sustained, healthy and stable development of China-EU relations.”

In a video message posted on the social platform X, formerly Twitter, Rutte said he wanted to focus on China’s relations with Russia following the invasion of Ukraine.

“I will try to convey how important it is for the Netherlands, for our security, that Russia does not win this, that Russia loses this,” he said. “And that we also demand that understanding from a good friend like China.”


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Rutte said he planned to step down as prime minister last year but has stayed on as a caretaker amid protracted coalition talks following the elections in November.

He also said that concerns about intellectual property rights, human rights and subsidies for Chinese products were also on his agenda.

In October, the European Union launched an anti-subsidy investigation into Chinese electric vehicles amid concerns that Chinese-made cars are crowding out European producers.

Beijing has criticised the move, describing it as “selective” and “protectionist”.

Before meeting Xi and Li, Rutte visited Peking University, where he met Chinese students studying Dutch language and culture as well as their counterparts from the Netherlands who are studying in China.