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Dutch premier pledges Patriot missiles for Ukraine at Biden meeting

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Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte delivers a statement as he and U.S. President Joe Biden hold a bilateral meeting in the Oval Office at the White House in Washington, U.S., January 17, 2023. REUTERS/Leah Millis

Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte told U.S. President Joe Biden on Tuesday that the Netherlands would offer Patriot missiles to Ukraine, a day after the top Dutch trade official balked at new U.S. restrictions on exporting chip-making technology to China.

The Netherlands will join the United States and Germany in sending the Patriot missile defense system to Ukraine, Rutte told Biden at the White House.

“I think that it’s important we join that and I discussed it also this morning with Olaf Scholz of Germany,” Rutte said.

Biden told Rutte he looked forward to discussing ways to strengthen the supply chain as he welcomed the prime minister to the White House. Biden also thanked Rutte for being “very very stalwart” on its support for Ukraine.

Rutte said the Netherlands has decided to spend an additional 2.5 billion euros ($2.70 billion) supporting Ukraine, an announcement the government made previously.

Trade Minister Liesje Schreinemacher said on Sunday the Netherlands would not summarily accept demands by the United States on chip technology.

Biden and Rutte are expected to discuss further support to Ukraine, “as well as further cooperation in the fields of defense and security and strengthening of the bilateral trade relationship,” a Dutch statement said.

The United States in October adopted sweeping measures to hobble China’s ability to make its own chips, and U.S. trade officials said at the time they expected the Netherlands and Japan to implement similar rules soon.

The Netherlands’ largest company is ASML Holding, a supplier to the semiconductor industry.

Rutte told reporters on Friday that he did not feel pressure from Washington to adopt more restrictions on semiconductor exports to China.

“This is a terrain where we’re a world player and we can conduct discussions about it without immediately talking in terms … of being ‘put under pressure’. I don’t experience it like that at all,” he said.

($1 = 0.9267 euros)

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