On 30 June 2023, the Dutch government announced supplemental controls for exports of certain advanced semiconductor production equipment from the Netherlands. These controls will enter into force on 1 September 2023. The delegated legislation, Regeling geavanceerde productieapparatuur voor halfgeleiders (the “Regulation”), is available here (in Dutch).
The Regulation introduces a prior license requirement for exports of designated semiconductor production equipment items from the Netherlands to destinations outside of the European Union. Intra-Union transfers from the Netherlands to other EU Member States are not subject to this requirement. The license needs to be applied for by the exporter with Dutch Customs. The Minister for Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation is responsible for the ultimate decision-making.
Relevant items that are within the scope of the supplemental controls are listed in the Annex to the Regulation. These items are intended for the development and production of semiconductors with an advanced architecture. According to the Dutch government, the specific possibilities for use of these semiconductors allow them to potentially make a “crucial contribution” to certain advanced military applications and for the development of high-end military (weapon) systems and weapons of mass destruction.
By way of summary, the following items are listed in the Annex to the Regulation:
- EUV pellicles (3B001.l);
- Production equipment for EUV pellicles (3B001.m);
- Lithography equipment being align and expose step and repeat (direct step on wafer) or step and scan (scanner) equipment for wafer processing using photo-optical or X-ray methods, meeting the provided technical specifications (3B001.f.4);
- Equipment for atomic layer deposition (ALD) of work function metals, meeting the provided technical specifications (3B001.d.12);
- Equipment designed for epitaxial growth of silicon (Si), carbon doped silicon, silicon-germanium (SiGe) or carbon doped SiGe, meeting the provided technical specifications (3B001.a.4);
- Equipment designed for the enhanced deposition of a layer of low-k dielectric through void-free plasma, meeting the provided technical specifications (3B001.d.19);
- Software specially designed for the development, production or use of the equipment in any of the ECCNs above (3D007);
- Technology that is necessary for the development, production or use of equipment in any of the ECCNs above (3E005).
Although the relevant items are indicated by ECCNs, these ECCNs are specific for the Regulation and are not currently present in Annex I to the EU Dual-Use Regulation 2021/821. Therefore, the items in the Annex to the Regulation are currently not similarly controlled for export at the EU level pursuant to the EU Dual-Use Regulation. Press reports however suggest that the Dutch government would have drafted these national controls with a view to future adoption and alignment within the EU.