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Business & Finance

ASML CEO sees US-China trade antagonism outlasting Trump

  • Some industry watchers had hoped that the transition from US President Donald Trump's administration to President-elect Joe Biden would ease tensions.
  • I don't think that's going to change. To be honest this goes to the heart of, I would say the very core of, industrial policy in both countries.
14 Jan 2021

AMSTERDAM: ASML CEO Peter Wennink expects further antagonism between the United States and China over semiconductor technology, even as a new administration is set to take over in Washington, he told the Reuters Next conference on Thursday.

The Netherlands-based technology giant has already been caught up in the trade war between Washington and Beijing, with the halting of sales of its latest machines, worth roughly $200 million each, to China due to US government pressure.

Some industry watchers had hoped that the transition from US President Donald Trump's administration to President-elect Joe Biden would ease tensions.

But Wennink said he does not expect a major change any time soon due to rival efforts by the superpowers to control leading technology, including semiconductor systems produced by ASML.

"That has a competitive space there and that creates this antagonism and that's what we have seen," he said referring to the US restrictions on trade with China.

"I don't think that's going to change. To be honest this goes to the heart of, I would say the very core of, industrial policy in both countries. It's semiconductors, it's technology that will create that value base, so that's not going to change and we'll have to live with that."

ASML is the world's leading manufacturer of lithography machines, which use energy beams to map computer chip circuitry. It's main customers are chipmakers Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co Ltd, Samsung Electronics Co Ltd and Intel Corp, which use its most advanced "EUV", or extreme ultraviolet, systems.

For the third quarter ended Sept. 30, the company's net sales rose to 3.96 billion euros ($4.82 billion), from 3 billion a year ago, ahead of analyst estimates of 3.7 billion euros. Net profit rose to 1.06 billion euros from 627 million euros.