Supporting a Vibrant and Competitive American Semiconductor Industry

Jan102017

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Post by Bruce H. Andrews

Semiconductors are the cornerstone of economic prosperity, innovation, and U.S. global leadership. Any time an American uses their smart phone, orders online, travels on an airplane, or drives their car – they are enjoying the benefits of semiconductor technology. Semiconductors are already delivering advances that our parents and grandparents could not begin to imagine: autonomous vehicles or clothing that can track vital health data, for example. Thanks to semiconductors, American students today – as well as their counterparts abroad – do not think twice about having the whole of human knowledge at their fingertips.

When the first transistor was built in New Jersey nearly 70 years ago, few could have predicted how this technology would transform the world. Yet through extensive R&D, extraordinary investment, and a relentless commitment to innovation, U.S. firms have become the world’s leading semiconductor companies. And our leadership continues to this day. But we will not take this leadership for granted.

The Commerce Department is strongly committed to ensuring the long-term competitiveness of the American semiconductor industry. Over the last year, our teams have worked closely with semiconductor industry leaders and have heard directly about the uncertainty and challenges they face. We have worked with interagency stakeholders and the White House to ensure American firms remain on the cutting-edge of this fast-moving, dynamic industry. And, we are working closely with businesses to address threats to their competiveness from unfair trade and industrial practices from China.

On Friday, we welcomed the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST) report on Ensuring Long-Term U.S. Leadership in Semiconductors. During this period of transition, we are committed to providing a blueprint for how to best support a strong and vibrant American semiconductor industry. The recommendations called for by the PCAST report are in part a response to protectionism from China and are meant to level the playing field for American manufacturers, workers, and innovators. As Secretary Pritzker said in her speech on the topic a few months ago, “we will not allow any nation to dominate this industry and impede innovation through unfair trade practices and massive, non-market-based state intervention.” And the United States remains as committed as ever to this goal.

It is imperative that semiconductor technology remains a central feature of American ingenuity and a driver of our economic growth. We cannot afford to cede our leadership. As the PCAST subcommittee found: we must continue to innovate to mitigate the threat posed by Chinese industrial policy and unfair trade practices.

We will not be silent or passive in the face of anticompetitive Chinese industrial policies that challenge American leadership and threaten disruption in global markets. Instead, Commerce has worked closely with its interagency partners and its friends and allies abroad to develop an international, industry-driven response to the challenges facing the semiconductor industry. And it is working. We have developed new tools to support this industry, conducted important analysis on the industry’s makeup, and are engaging all parts of our organization to support this critical American industry.

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Last updated: 2017-10-18 13:48

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