New US chip rules threaten European strategic autonomy


President Joe Biden surprised friend and foe in October with new restrictions for the export of microchips and chip-making equipment to China in order to slow down its technological development. The US wants European companies to follow suit. Sanne van der Lugt and Frans-Paul van der Putten warn that the new restrictions threaten the competitiveness of European flagship companies in the microchip industry. 'Without these prominent companies, it is difficult for the European Union to act autonomously in a global system that is increasingly dominated by great powers and large companies.'

The vast majority of chips are designed in the US and made in Asia. The EU has set itself the goal to increase its chip market share to 20 per cent by 2030. It is not self-evident that the EU will succeed, because the chain is extremely dependent on a very limited number of actors. The trump cards that the EU holds to move these actors in line with the European ambitions are the Belgian IMEC and the Dutch ASML and ASM. It is therefore very important that the Dutch government seeks backing from Paris, Berlin and Brussels in its negotiations with the United States and conducts these negotiations at the European level. That is the place where the Dutch and Belgium negotiation powers lie and where European strategic autonomy is best defended.

Article with Sanne van der Lugt for the Clingendael Spectator. Click on the image to read the article.