The US is to send officials in charge of chip development to Taiwan, Japan and South Korea to promote cooperation in the global semiconductor supply chain, the US Department of Commerce said on Tuesday.
Chips Program Office Director Michael Schmidt announced the visit, which marks the first time officials from the office are to visit the three nations since it was set up in September last year.
“As semiconductors and technologies continue to evolve, the United States will keep working with allies and partners to develop coordinated strategies to ensure that malign actors cannot use the latest technologies to undermine our collective economic and national security,” Schmidt said.
“In implementing the CHIPS and Science Act, the Department of Commerce is engaged extensively with key partners and allies, including authorities in the Republic of Korea [South Korea], Japan and Taiwan, as well as the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework, the European Union, and the United States Trade and Technology Council and North American Leaders’ Summit,” he said.
While the office did not disclose any details about Schmidt’s trip, a senior official from the department, who asked not to be identified, said the delegation would include Sam Marullo, senior policy adviser to the office, and Frances Chang, who supervises international exchanges in the office.
Asked whether the delegation would meet Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co (TSMC) executives, the unnamed official said only that the department would release details at an appropriate time.
“We intend to make this a really important part of our discussions with [South] Korea, Japan and Taiwan,” the official said.
According to the CHIPS Act, the US government is to inject US$52.7 billion into the US semiconductor industry to shore up its manufacturing, and research and development strength.
Funding would include US$39 billion in subsidies for companies that build new facilities and expand production capacity in the US.
The department is reportedly planning to take applications in late June from companies eyeing the subsidies.
The department also announced the so-called National Security Guardrails, which are to ban recipients of US government subsidies from investing in most semiconductor manufacturing in foreign adversary countries — China, Russia, Iran and North Korea — for 10 years after the date of being awarded funding.
The measures also aim to limit funding recipients from engaging in joint research or technology licensing efforts with any of the four countries to develop a technology or product that raises national security concerns, it said.
TSMC is building fabs in Arizona that are to make chips using the 4-nanometer and 3-nanometer processes, with mass production scheduled to begin next year and in 2026.
The unnamed department official declined to comment on whether TSMC is seeking subsidies from the US government.
Hsinchu-based GlobalWafers Co has also begun construction of a 12-inch silicon wafer plant in Texas, with the aim of beginning mass production next year.
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