Verba Volant, Scripta Manent

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Verba Volant, Scripta Manent

The Hill News

Verba Volant, Scripta Manent

The Hill News

American industry moves to counter Taiwanese semiconductor dominance


Another step in the American government’s long-established quest to counter Chinese dominance in electric manufacturing is the CHIPS and Science Act, a federal statute enacted by Congress and signed into law by President Joe Biden.  

The act provides roughly $280 billion in new funding to boost domestic research and manufacturing of semi conductors in the United States. 

The announcement of the act immediately prompted companies to increase their financial commitment to the sector greatly. In addition to the lack luster infrastructure and investment that this act attempts to solve, the lack of skilled workers remains a vital issue.  

The importance of semi conductors extends far beyond the world of electronic circuitry. Semi conductors are substances with properties that both insulate and conduct, depending on the conditions. They are used in nearly every electronic devices, from alarm clocks to quantum supercomputers. Importantly, they are crucial parts of telecommunications and military technology and are going to needed more and more in the coming years. Since the 1980s, semiconductors and chip manufacturing have been important political factors in world geopolitics.  

The article Semi-Politics by Susanahh Glickman says, “Following the panic that surrounded pandemic supply-chain shortages, semiconductors have returned to their earlier status as a litmus test for American power and decline.”  

Recently, there has been a push in the US to increase semiconductor manufacturing capabilities. Currently, US dependence on foreign entities, like China,  for semi conductors is significant  and could spell disaster if that supply is interrupted because of war, sanctions, or any other conflict.  

A large factor here is Taiwan, which dominates these miconductor market in both research and production. To combat this, many argue that the US needs to increase the domestic population of skilled workers in addition to legislation like the CHIPS Act. This could be done in a myriad of ways, specifically targeted immigration policies that make it easier to get a Visa for high-talent immigrants.  

As the Economic Innovation Group puts it in The Chipmaker’s Visa: A Key Ingredient for CHIPS Act Success, “Congress should open new visa pathways for this industry to recruit talent globally. A targeted 10-year push specific to the chip making industry and its key up stream suppliers will substantially raise the odds that the United States succeeds in its goal of becoming a leading producer of the world’s most advanced chips.” 

This would allow the US to pass the amount of time it would take to cultivate a high-skill domestic workforce. Currently, the US Federal Government is becoming growingly friendly towards industrial policy. This, coupled with the recent growth in foreign semiconductor production, makes this a current issue and one that will only get worse with time. While the specifics of this would be complicated due to current immigration policies and geopolitical trends in east Asia, immigration reform could posture the US to be a commanding presence in the field of semi conductor manufacturing. 

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