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Biden, Kishida held “very productive“ talks on China export controls


U.S. President Joe Biden and Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida walk through the colonnade of the White House on their way to the Oval Office, in Washington, U.S., January 13, 2023. Mandel Ngan/Pool via REUTERS

U.S. President Joe Biden and Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida held “very productive” talks last week on semiconductor-related export controls on China, White House Indo-Pacific coordinator Kurt Campbell said on Tuesday.

The Biden administration in October published a sweeping set of export controls, including measures tightly restricting Chinese access to U.S. chipmaking technology, as part of an effort to slow Beijing’s technological and military advances.

But it has not yet convinced key allies to put in place similar equipment curbs seen as essential to making the restrictions effective, since Japanese and Dutch firms Tokyo Electron Ltd (8035.T) and ASML Holding NV (ASML.AS) also are top producers of chipmaking equipment.

Campbell told a think-tank event that Biden had broached the issue with Kishida during their meeting on Friday in Washington, where the two leaders hailed their countries’ long-standing alliance amid concern about security threats from Beijing.

“I think it would be fair to say that when President Biden raised the issue with Prime Minister Kishida, he indicated that he was studying it carefully and that he would be responding appropriately,” Campbell told the Center for Strategic and International Studies event.

“And I think we are satisfied and believe that the consultations have been very productive.”

Japan’s Ambassador to the United States, Koji Tomita, said at the same event it was a complicated issue that required coordination with industry, but that both Japan and the United States expected progress in coming weeks.

“I think we are making very careful progress, looking at both technical as well as the economic side of this issue. But as Kurt said, I think we are looking forward to making progress, solid progress, on this issue in the coming weeks,” Tomita said.

Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte visited the White House on Tuesday, where he was expected to discuss export policy with Biden.

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

The Netherlands’ top trade official said at the weekend that the European Union country would not summarily accept new U.S. restrictions on exporting chip-making technology to China, and was consulting with European and Asian allies.