U.S. an ‘Outlier’ In Global Race for Semiconductor Autonomy, Conference Hears

A Biden administration official warns about the semiconductor shortage in the United States.

U.S. an ‘Outlier’ In Global Race for Semiconductor Autonomy, Conference Hears
Photo of the LeadershIP conference venue last week, by Theadora Soter

WASHINGTON, Apr 13, 2022—An official from the Joe Biden administration warned last week about the severity of the semiconductor shortage in the United States.

“It’s really jarring to know that the United States cannot make the most advanced kind of semiconductors here on the mainland,” Jessica McBroom, director for international economics and competitiveness at the National Security Council, said at the 2022 LeadershIP conference last week. McBroom has been the person leading the president’s comprehensive review of supply chains since she took office in 2020.

Kathleen Kingscott, vice president of strategic partnerships for IBM Research, noted the global competitiveness of the issue on the same panel with McBroom.

“The US is an outlier right now, today, in what’s happening with these semiconductor investments around the world. The EU is on the verge of passing its version [of the] Chips Act,” Kingscott said, referring to legislation still before Congress that would plow $52 billion into U.S. investment in the semiconductor industry.

“They’re [EU] planning to fund $48 billion dollars over a ten-year period. China has already passed its $100 billion dollar investment in a five year period. India has passed a $10 billion program over six years. Japan has an eight billion-dollar program over five years, and Korea has passed a $50 billion dollar over a three year investment program,” said Kingscott.

A Senate committee heard last month that the U.S. contributes about 12 percent of global chip manufacturing, six percent from which comes from Intel. Intel announced in January that it will build a $20-billion chip manufacturing facility outside of Columbus, Ohio to ease the concern.

Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo has previously said that the issue could devolve into a “national emergency” if legislation addressing the problem is not passed.

Added McBroom: “We have to promote our industry at home, so that means making investments to ensure that we have semiconductor factories here in the United States.”

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