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Tim Culpan

US Chip Pressure on ASML Is a Tough Sell

Washington needs to do more to dissuade foreign partners to cut off its biggest rival.

Pushing boundaries.

Pushing boundaries.

Photographer: Emmanuel Dunand/FP/Getty Images

A US decision to escalate pressure on Dutch chip equipment maker ASML Holding NV to halt selling some products to China makes total sense. But only if you’re an American government official. Outside of Washington, it’s a tough ask to lay on the Netherlands and one of its most important companies.

Worried about China catching up in the chip race, US officials have pushed Amsterdam to ban ASML from shipping even older semiconductor manufacturing machines to that nation, Bloomberg News reported Tuesday. A halt on deep ultraviolet lithography systems, which is used to make chips that go into cars and consumer electronics, as has been requested, would go well beyond the current embargo on extreme ultraviolet equipment. It would also push China into a corner, for which the US must be prepared to accept the consequences.