China’s Commerce Minister Wang Wentao urged a visiting minister from the Netherlands to jointly support the stability of global semiconductor supply chains and strengthen cooperation in the sector, in a bid for freer trade of chipmaking equipment.

In a meeting with Dutch minister for Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation Geoffrey van Leeuwen in Beijing, Wang encouraged the country to fulfil contractual obligations domestic companies made regarding lithography machines.

The nation’s Ministry of Commerce stated Wang pressed van Leeuwen to “ensure normal trade in lithography machines”.

Van Leeuwen noted Dutch export controls do not target any specific country and the decisions are based on an “independent assessment and in a safe and controllable manner” to minimise the impact on global semiconductor supply chains.

Wang expressed hope the two countries can expand cooperation in green transformation and elderly-care services.

In early January, a foreign ministry representative rebuked the Netherlands after chip equipment manufacturer ASML confirmed the country’s government revoked an export licence covering shipments of certain equipment to China.

The US imposed fresh restrictions on certain deep ultraviolet lithography systems for a limited number of advanced production facilities in October 2023.