France announces new export controls on semi-conductors and quantum equipment and technology

Hogan Lovells

Hogan Lovells[co-author: Thomas Allinson]

As of 1 March 2024, a licence will be required to export technologies relating to quantum computers, and advanced electronic components such as semiconductors, from France to non-EU countries.

These new measures come a few months after the Netherlands and Spain introduced similar measures, and in the context of the adoption by the EU of its Economic Security Strategy, which identified four technologies as critical, including advanced semiconductors and quantum technology

The French government recently adopted a new Order dated 2 February 2014 on the export of goods and technologies related to quantum computers and quantum technologies, as well as to advanced technology equipment (Arrêté du 2 février 2024 relatif aux exportations vers les pays tiers de biens et technologies associés à l’ordinateur quantique et à ses technologies habilitantes et d’équipements de conception, développement, production, test et inspection de composants électroniques avancés) (the “Export Controls Order 02-2024”).

The Export Controls Order 02-2024 stems from Article 9 of EU Regulation 2021/821 (the “EU Dual-Use Regulation”) permitting EU Member States to require export authorization “for reasons of public security.”

Items in scope of the Export Controls Order 02-2024

As of 1 March 2024, a license will be required from the French dual-use authority, the SBDU (“Service des biens à double usage”), to export the following items from France to non-EU countries:

  • Advanced technologies and semiconductors
    • 3A901.a.15. Complementary Metal Oxide Semiconductor (CMOS) integrated circuits, not controlled by 3A001.a.2. of the EU Dual-Use Regulation, designed to operate at an ambient temperature equal to or lower than 4.5 K (- 268.65 °C).
    • 3B901.k. Equipment designed for dry etching.
    • 3B903. Scanning electron microscope (SEM) designed for imaging semiconductor devices or integrated circuits.
    • 3.D.902. "Software" specially designed for the "use" of equipment specified in 3B901.k.
    • 3D907. "Software" designed to extract GDSII data or equivalent standard configuration data and perform layer-by-layer alignment from scanning electron microscope (SEM) images, and generate multi-layer GDSII data or a circuit interconnection list.
    • 3E901. "Technology", as defined in the General Technology Note set out in Annex I to the EU Dual-Use Regulation, for the "development" or "production" of the equipment or materials referred to in the preceding paragraphs.
    • 3E905. "Technology" as defined in the General Technology Note in Annex I to the EU Dual-Use Regulation for the "development" or "production" of integrated circuits and devices using "coated gate field effect transistor" ("GAAFET") structures.
  • Quantum computers and quantum technology
    • 4A906. Quantum computers, "electronic assemblies" and components designed for them.
    • 4D901.b.3 "Software" specially designed or modified for the "development" or "production" of items specified in 4A906.b or 4A906.c.
    • 4E901.b.3 "Technology" according to the General Technology Note in Annex I to the EU Dual-Use Regulation for the "development" or "production" of items specified in 4A906.b. or 4A906.c.

The terms with inverted commas have the same meaning as in the EU Dual-Use Regulation.

Background of these new export controls

France is not the first EU country to adopt such national measures; the Export Controls Order 02-2024 follows similar measures adopted by the Netherlands in 2023 (semi-conductors) and Spain (quantum computers).

These French export controls are likely linked to the very recent publication of the EU’s Economic Security Strategy identifying four key technologies, two of which concerned advanced electronics and quantum. A white paper published alongside the Strategy also called for more coordination among EU Member States on the issue.

Next steps

  • Companies in the advanced technologies and quantum industries, and those that use such equipment and technology in their manufacturing processes, should assess the impact of these French export controls on their own organizations and their broader supply chains.
  • These measures may have an impact on exports from other EU Member States. The Dual-Use Regulation requires EU Member States to impose a license requirement for the export of items restricted by national control measures of another EU Member State if the exporter has been informed that these items may be used in relation to public security concerns or human rights considerations. It cannot be ruled out that other EU Member States that have similar technology may follow France’s example in applying national export controls.
    • The list of national control measures under Article 9 of the EU Dual Use Regulation can be found here.

[View source.]

DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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