United States: Trade seeks public input to develop and support domestic semiconductor industry
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On January 24, 2022, the Department of Commerce issued a Federal Register Notice request information that will help the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) guide programs designed to support a strong national semiconductor industry. The notice invites public comments that will “inform the planning and design of potential programs to incentivize investment in semiconductor manufacturing facilities and associated ecosystems; provide shared infrastructure to accelerate research, development and semiconductor prototyping; and supporting research related to advanced packaging and advanced metrology technologies to ensure a robust national semiconductor industry.”
This request for information comes after the Ministry published Semiconductor Supply Chain Information Request Results, which is based on responses to the September 2021 survey Request for public comment on risks in the semiconductor supply chain. See Updated September 29, 2021. In prepared remarks, Secretary Gina Raimondo said, “The United States faces both an immediate shortage of supply that is driving up prices and a long-term threat to America’s economic and national security if we don’t increase domestic chip supply… As demand for semiconductors will only increase, we need smart and strategic investments to shore up our chain national supply chain – and we need it now. Not only to solve current shortage and supply chain issues, but to help position America to lead globally by investing in our manufacturing of semi -drivers and our R&D and improve American competitiveness.”
The Department has released the current notice requesting information for comment on a potential set of programs in general and the following topics in particular:
- A semiconductor financial assistance program that would provide funding, through a competitive process, to private entities, consortia of private entities, or public-private consortia to encourage the creation, expansion or modernization of semiconductor manufacturing facilities and supporting infrastructure.
- A National Semiconductor Technology Center to serve as a hub of talent, knowledge, investment, equipment and tools.
- An advanced packaging manufacturing program that focuses on the challenge of integrating fragile computer chips into very small configurations that combine multiple systems, resulting in benefits such as reduced costs, increased functionality and efficiency improved energy.
- Comments on current and future industry workforce development needs for a highly skilled workforce capable of meeting current and future needs of the public and private sectors.
Comments submitted to the Department will help inform the planning and implementation of programs to (1) protect and expand the US semiconductor industry; (2) secure chip supply for critical US commercial and non-commercial sectors; and (3) promote the economic viability of US industry in research and development, manufacturing, and other critical areas of the semiconductor value chain. Subsequently, public workshops to explore the issues raised in this January 2022 notice may be scheduled. The public can follow developments at www.nist.gov/semiconductors.
Interested parties should submit their comments no later than March 25, 2022. All comments should be submitted via www.regulations.gov on filing DOC-2021-0010.
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