European firms could become collateral damage in a growing conflict between the Chinese government and US tech companies.

The Chinese authorities have imposed restrictions on artificial intelligence exports, a move that could have an impact on the planned sale of ByteDance Ltd.’s TikTok app to American firms.

European companies appeared to have a competitive edge this summer as the US blocked its own companies’ deals with companies such as Huawei, which the US administration considers to be a security threat.

The pressure is being applied in both directions. In August the US upped its pressure on Europe by expanding restrictions, requiring foreign companies to obtain permission in the form of a licence if they plan to supply Huawei with components using US technology.

According to Reuters, the Dutch government didn’t renew a licence that chip-gear maker ASML required to export its extreme ultraviolet lithography machines to China. US officials had lobbied hard to block the sale.

FILE PHOTO: Reuters