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After thirteen years, Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte, announced his resignation. During his 13-year tenure, he has demonstrated a significant shift in the Netherlands’ stance towards global tech supremacy. Allying with the US and Japan, Netherlands has imposed export controls on advanced microchip technology sold by Dutch tech company ASML, restricting the supply of these cutting-edge chips to China.

The Dutch government has also discouraged the use of Chinese-owned app TikTok for government work. This change in approach, from a champion of global free trade to guarding intellectual property and maintaining technological leadership in the West, reflects Rutte’s strategic vision. The Dutch government also plans to intensify the screening of foreign investments, mergers, and acquisitions in sensitive technology sectors.

  • Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte has spearheaded a shift in the Netherlands’ tech policy, aligning more closely with the United States and Japan;
  • The Dutch government has imposed export controls on advanced microchip technology, with Dutch company ASML being specifically targeted;
  • These restrictions aim to limit the supply of cutting-edge chips to China.

A Paradigm Shift

Mark Rutte, the longest-serving prime minister in the history of the Netherlands, has proven to be a pivotal influence in the country’s tech policy over the past thirteen years. His governance, marked by flexibility and pragmatism, has seen the country align more with the United States in the race for technological supremacy.

This shift in stance is a significant departure from the Netherlands’ historical position as a champion of global free trade. Rutte’s government has demonstrated its intent to protect the nation’s intellectual property and maintain its technological edge in the West, reflecting a nuanced understanding of the trials and tribulations of the modern tech landscape.

Restrictions on Tech Exports

One of the key aspects of Rutte’s tech strategy has been the implementation of new export controls on advanced microchip technology. Dutch tech company ASML, a global leader in the semiconductor industry, has been specifically targeted by these regulations. Under the new rules, ASML is required to apply for export licenses for some types of machines, allowing the government to potentially block exports to particular countries.

The export controls are not country-specific, although China, in particular, is expected to feel the impact. The restrictions are part of a broader political deal struck with the US and Japan in January, aiming to restrict the supply of cutting-edge chips to China.

Influence on Domestic and Foreign Policy

The change in tech policy has also influenced the Netherlands’ stance on foreign and domestic ownership of strategic assets. The government has signaled its intent to block unwanted foreign or domestic ownership, particularly after a Dutch chips firm was targeted for takeover by a Chinese tech company.

Rutte’s government has also advised against using the Chinese-owned video-sharing app TikTok for government work. This, combined with the export controls, reflects a growing wariness of China’s influence in the tech sector.