ITI brought together leading policy and industry experts from the United States, the European Union, and South Korea to provide a robust overview and analysis of the latest policy initiatives impacting semiconductor production and innovation. The experts explored the challenges in the semiconductor supply chain, identified new growth opportunities, and brought solutions to enhance the semiconductor supply chain by global cooperation.
The virtual panel, held on July 20, featured Sahar Hafeez, Senior Advisor at the Bureau of Industry and Security at the U.S. Department of Commerce; Chan Ki Park, Director of the Semiconductor and Display Industry Division at the Ministry of Trade, Industry, and Energy in South Korea; Lucilla Sioli, Director for Artificial Intelligence and Digital Industry at the European Commission; and Greg Slater, Vice President of Global Government Affairs at Intel. It was moderated by Alexa Lee, Senior Manager of Policy at ITI.
The panel started with a brief overview and key recommendations from the U.S. government’s 100-day America’s Supply Chains Review Report pursuant to the Executive Order. Sahar Hafeez noted that the U.S. has identified multiple cross-cutting risks, such as insufficient domestic manufacturing, geographic concentration, and gaps in high-skilled workers. To help address those risks, she advised strengthening engagement with global partners to encourage increased production and cooperation on multilateral controls and making sure the U.S. has graduates in the STEM fields who ultimately go onto work in semiconductor careers. To incentivize the U.S. semiconductors investment, she encouraged stakeholders to continue working on getting legislation through the U.S. Congress. She stated that the U.S. Department of Commerce program on semiconductors will be eligible for both U.S. and non-U.S. companies to ensure all stakeholders in the semiconductor ecosystem could be considered, including the leading edge and mature node, as well as a dedication to workforce training.
Lucilla Sioli weighed in on the semiconductors supply chain from an EU perspective and emphasized the impact of COVID-19 on semiconductors. She explained that semiconductor production was very much focused on chips given the demand for technologies that enabled people to work from home and study from home. “In Europe, security, energy efficiency data protection and sustainability, and safety are all important values that these technologies have to have," she said. Sioli stated that this week, Europe announced the Industrial Alliance for Processors and Semiconductor Technologies to facilitate cooperation between companies to develop strategic roadmap, research, and investment plans to boost Europe’s competitiveness.
Greg Slater shared his view that policy incentives play an essential role in driving investment and innovation, and for a multi-national company like Intel, the stability of the location, proximity to customers, total operation and labor expenditure are key considerations in making investments. On top of that, policy incentives are crucial to help cover the cost. Slater explained, "Today, everybody understands what semiconductors are. They understand they are the foundation of all these great technologies that we depend on, and I think you see a consensus develop on the need for at least these three governments to strengthen their weaknesses, to either attract more investment or develop international collaboration.” He noted that the new Commission European Commission Alliance on Semiconductor Technologies and the U.S.-EU Technology and Trade Council are excellent opportunities to strengthen transatlantic collaboration on supply chain resilience. In addition, he welcomed the recent announcement during South Korea President’s visit to the White House to increase cooperation on semiconductors with the U.S.
At the end of the discussion, panelists identified a path forward for collaboration – partners and allies should cooperate on semiconductor supply chain but at the same time, not duplicating efforts. ITI continues to urge countries to strike a balance between reducing foreign dependency and increasing self-reliance and provide targeted incentives. Global cooperation is essential – partners and allies should work together by helping each other’s weaknesses in the semiconductor supply chain.