US officials from the CHIPS Program Office (CPO) were in Taiwan last week as part of a larger trip to the region to explain funding opportunities for investments in the US, an American Institute in Taiwan (AIT) spokesperson said on Wednesday.
Two senior officials from the CPO, one of two offices administering the US$39 billion budget from the CHIPS Act, joined AIT officials in Taipei and Kaohsiung in informing small Taiwanese suppliers of chip material and equipment about funding opportunities under the CHIPS and Science Act, AIT wrote on Facebook on Friday last week.
The two officials’ “efforts have been instrumental in enhancing these suppliers’ understanding of the available funding opportunities,” it said.
On Wednesday, the spokesperson said that the officials were in Taiwan from Monday to Wednesday last week as part of a trip that also included stops in Japan and South Korea.
“The primary purpose of their visit was to inform semiconductor materials suppliers about the recent Notice of Funding Opportunity released on Sept. 29,” the spokesperson said.
The CPO representatives met with more than 20 semiconductor suppliers in Taipei and Kaohsiung to discuss the latest funding opportunities available via the CHIPS and Science Act, the spokesperson said.
The act, officially signed into law by US President Joe Biden last year, aims to attract semiconductor manufacturers to invest in the US to make it less dependent on overseas chip suppliers, including those in Taiwan.
The legislation provides US$52.7 billion for US semiconductor research, development, manufacturing and workforce development, including US$39 billion in manufacturing incentives.
However, there has been some confusion on what types of companies would be eligible for subsidies under the act, including whether suppliers of semiconductor materials would qualify.
The Notice of Funding Opportunity aims to clarify eligibility, stating that it applies to companies with “a demonstrated ability” to “construct, expand or modernize a facility relating to the fabrication, assembly, testing, advanced packaging, production, or research and development of semiconductors, materials used to manufacture semiconductors or semiconductor manufacturing equipment.”
Reuters on Saturday last week reported that no awards had been issued, and it was still not clear when the US Department of Commerce would announce awards.
It was also reported that US Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo told the US Congress that Washington should streamline the process for new projects and make it more efficient and user-friendly.
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