Dutch defence ministry advised against ASML exports to China in 2020 -FD

AMSTERDAM, Jan 20 (Reuters) - The Netherlands' defence ministry advised the government in 2020 not to allow semiconductor equipment supplier ASML Holding NV (ASML.AS) to export any of its most modern machines to China, Dutch newspaper Het Financieele Dagblad reported on Friday.

The FD obtained a slightly redacted version of the advice, which it has published on its website, via a Freedom of Information Act request.

"From the perspective of the Dutch military and security interests in the mid-to-long-term it is of importance ... that ASML not be granted any export permit for the delivery of EUV machines to China and that this unique technology be protected as much as possible," the advice addressed to the foreign ministry said.

EUV refers to ASML's flagship lithography machines, which cost $200 million each and are used by chipmakers to create the circuitry of computer chips.

The advice has been heeded, as ASML has not shipped EUV technology to Chinese customers.

The publication comes as the Dutch government is weighing additional restrictions on ASML's exports of older equipment to China.

Prime Minister Mark Rutte said on Jan. 17 he expected a "good outcome" to discussions with the United States on the matter after meeting with President Joe Biden in Washington.

The letter also spelled out the potential risks of exporting the technology.

"The chance that a NATO member state in the future must defend itself against independently produced weapons systems would become much larger if EUV machines are exported," the advice said.

"In addition our most important strategic security partner, the United States, has made an urgent appeal to the Netherlands not to export the EUV technology to China."

Reporting by Toby Sterling Editing by Mark Potter

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