Dutch semiconductor equipment manufacturer, ASML, has stated that US trade restrictions on semiconductors will continue to be a major hurdle for the industry throughout 2024, according to its annual report published today (14 February). 

“Semiconductors are crucial to the economic and strategic development of countries and regions, with the strategic importance of the semiconductor industry only likely to grow,” states the report, explaining that ASML predicts semiconductor manufacturing and expenditure will be pushed into a wider range of countries. 

“As governments increasingly see semiconductor manufacturing as strategically significant chips acts are incentivising our customers to build manufacturing facilities in the US, Europe and Asia,” notes the report.

ASML advised the semiconductor industry to review its global supply chain, leading to a change in Dutch policy in January that left its Chinese customers without lithography systems. 

“Trade tensions and protectionism introduce significant complexity across the supply chain and the processes required,” ASML stated, warning that further trade regulation could affect the end price of semiconductors. 

ASML stated in the report that it would continue to work closely with governments to educate them on the semiconductor industry and inform on future regulations. 

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According to forecasts from research and analysis company GlobalData, AI will soon be a global industry worth over $909bn. As AI becomes more widespread and lucrative, demand will increase for semiconductors around the world. 

The US has continually restricted export of technology like lithography systems to China citing national security concerns. Whilst both countries aim to become a world leader in AI, the US has stated that it is concerned about China’s possible use of AI in defence technology. 

From January 2024, ASML stated that it had continued to supply its customers with non-advanced lithography systems that remain unaffected by current export controls. 

“The governments will determine whether to grant or deny the required export licenses and provide further details to the company on any conditions that apply,” according to ASML.