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Biden and Dutch PM discuss semiconductor dispute, Patriots for Ukraine


Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte delivers a statement as he and U.S. President Joe Biden hold a bilateral meeting in the Oval Office at the White House in Washington, U.S., January 17, 2023. REUTERS/Leah Millis

U.S. President Joe Biden and Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte held wide-ranging talks on Tuesday that included a discussion on Dutch concerns about new U.S. restrictions on exporting chip-making technology to China.

“It did come up in their conversation,” White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre told reporters after the talks.

Rutte told Biden of Dutch plans to offer the Patriot missile defense system to Ukraine, working together with Germany on an initiative to help Ukraine defend itself from a barrage of missile attacks from Russia.

“I think that it’s important we join that and I discussed it also this morning with Olaf Scholz of Germany,” Rutte said.

Biden told Rutte he looked forward to discussing ways to strengthen the supply chain as he welcomed the prime minister to the White House. Biden also thanked Rutte for being “very very stalwart” on its support for Ukraine.

Rutte said the Netherlands has decided to spend an additional 2.5 billion euros ($2.70 billion) supporting Ukraine, an announcement the government made previously.

Trade Minister Liesje Schreinemacher said on Sunday the Netherlands would not summarily accept demands by the United States on chip technology.

Jean-Pierre did not have details of the conversation between Biden and Rutte on chips but said: “We don’t push any of our allies or our partners, we consult with each one of them closely and they make their own decisions.”

A White House statement on the talks said Biden and Rutte “discussed the importance of secure supply chains and critical technologies to our national security and economic prosperity.”

The United States in October adopted sweeping measures to hobble China’s ability to make its own chips, and U.S. trade officials said at the time they expected the Netherlands and Japan to implement similar rules soon.

The Netherlands’ largest company is ASML Holding, a supplier to the semiconductor industry.

Rutte told reporters on Friday that he did not feel pressure from Washington to adopt more restrictions on semiconductor exports to China.

“This is a terrain where we’re a world player and we can conduct discussions about it without immediately talking in terms … of being ‘put under pressure’. I don’t experience it like that at all,” he said.

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