The US is urging lithography tool-makers to stop selling to China. Image: Facebook

TOKYO - The US government is finding it easier to harass Chinese semiconductor producers than to support its own industry. As the CHIPS Act remains stalled in Congress and Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo warns that large foreign investments are at risk, tougher US sanctions against China are reportedly in the works.

Congress has been debating for a year and a half but has not yet reconciled the House and Senate versions of the CHIPS Act, which would provide US$52 billion in subsidies to domestic and foreign semiconductor companies that invest in America.

News reports indicate that the US government is putting pressure on the Netherlands to block ASML Holding NV from selling technology used in making a large proportion of the world’s chips to China. The Japanese government is also being prodded by the US to ban Nikon’s sales of similar chip-making technology to China, according to the reports.