Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte discusses Arizona and U.S. semiconductor economy

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Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte talks with The Center Square reporter Cameron Arcand on Dec. 5, 2023, in Scottsdale, Arizona. Cameron Arcand

Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte visited the United States on an economic development tour focused on the semiconductor industry this week.

One of his stops was in Scottsdale, Arizona, where he helped announce the expansion of semiconductor equipment manufacturer ASM International’s presence in Arizona, as they have been in the state since the 1970s. The Center Square reported Tuesday that the Dutch company is investing over $300 million into its new campus.

Rutte told The Center Square about what building up the semiconductor industry in the Western hemisphere means, as well as the relationship between the Netherlands and the United States.

In an interview with Rutte, he told The Center Square about what building up the semiconductor industry in the Western hemisphere means, as well as the relationship between the Netherlands and the United States.

“In the whole supply chain on semiconductors, there are many parts which are not a problem that they’re produced in China or wherever. What you have to be careful about is that the really high-end technologies are particularly geared towards the economies and used in the economies and the economies have access to those for which you are not a threat,” Rutte said.

As most of the semiconductor industry is centered in Asia, particularly Taiwan, there is a race to move production to the U.S. as tensions rise between China and Taiwan.

“That other economies and I’m not mentioning countries, or you mentioned China, I will not repeat that country, but in general it is important that, of course, you protect the highest-end technology. That’s the reason why we, with Japan and U.S., the Netherlands, have worked together on how can you protect these high-end technologies,” he continued.

Although his trip focused on Arizona and California, Rutte did comment on the state of the relationship between the U.S. and the Netherlands.

“At the moment we are the first or second biggest investor in the U.S.–the Netherlands. And we created over a million jobs here and the other way around the US has created 350,000, I believe, jobs in the Netherlands. So I’m not complaining,” he said.

“The Dutch relationship is extremely strong. It is extremely stable. And this is because we are both believing in entrepreneurship and the free flow of economic growth and to have only government interference when, for example, high-end technologies are involved like in the semiconductor industry.” Rutte added.

The prime minister has been in office since 2010, but he currently serves in a caretaker capacity and he will be leaving the position soon once a new Dutch cabinet is formed. Rutte praised key legislation agenda items of the Biden administration, and he said that they could be useful for his country to take note of.

“[W]e can learn from the U.S. For example, what you did with the Inflation Reduction Act and with the CHIPS Act, and that you sometimes get the money to companies through tax deductions instead of cumbersome subsidy schemes is something we can learn from,” he said.

When The Center Square asked what Rutte’s favorite part of America was, he quipped about his love for New York City.

“My favorite part? But that’s very boring because of course I’m from the Netherlands, so my favorite part is New Amsterdam, which I believe you call New York,” Rutte said.

“But, obviously, that is a historical mistake,” he joked.

Republished with the permission of The Center Square.