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Dutch trade minister: won't summarily agree to U.S. rules on China exports

FILE PHOTO: Employees are seen working on the final assembly of ASML's TWINSCAN NXE:3400B semiconductor lithography tool with its panels removed, in Veldhoven

AMSTERDAM (Reuters) - The top Dutch trade official said the Netherlands will not summarily accept new U.S. restrictions on exporting chip-making technology to China, and is consulting with European and Asian allies.

Trade Minister Liesje Schreinemacher spoke on Sunday on the television show Buitenhof ahead of a visit to the U.S. by Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte on Tuesday, when he is expected to discuss export policy with President Joe Biden.

The Netherlands' largest company is ASML Holding, a key supplier to semiconductor equipment makers.

The Dutch government has denied ASML permission to ship its most advanced machines to China since 2019 following a pressure campaign by the Trump administration, but ASML did sell 2 billion euros worth of older machines to China in 2021.

The U.S. in October adopted measures aimed at hobbling China's ability to make its own chips, and U.S. trade officials said at the time they expected the Netherlands and Japan to implement similar rules soon.

ASML has said that the U.S. rules could impact roughly 5% of its group sales.

Schreinemacher said the U.S. had "justified worries" about over-reliance on Asia, where 80% of advanced chips are made, and the threat that they could wind up in a military application or being used against the Netherlands.

"We've been talking with the Americans for a long time, but they came up with new rules in October, so that changes the playing field," said Schreinemacher. "So you can't say that they've been pressuring us for two years and now we have to sign on the dotted line. And we won't."

She said the Netherlands is also talking with Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, Germany and France.

She underlined that Germany has an economic interest as it is a key supplier to ASML and to "ensure that if we put a certain technology on a list of products that can't be easily exported, that other countries do too."

(Reporting by Toby Sterling; Editing by Leslie Adler)