“Offense” & “Defense” in U.S. Semiconductor Strategy (Again)

Last December, U.S. Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo made the case that both a defensive strategy (referring to export controls for semiconductor technology) and an offensive strategy (referring to investments in R&D and workforce) are essential to the U.S.’s “national security, its ability to lead, and its global competition with autocratic governments and countries all over the world.”

“Offense”: On February 7, the Industrial Advisory Committee (IAC) held its second public meeting on the progress of CHIPS R&D Programs. The committee passed about ten recommendations from working groups about establishing innovative capabilities, restructuring the National Science and Technology Council (NSTC), and developing a strong workforce, among many others.

  • CHIPS funding to come: The Department of Commerce also announced a series of expected Notices of Funding Opportunity (NOFOs):
  1. In late February, for commercial leading-edge, current, and mature node fabrication facilities.
  2. In late spring, for material suppliers and equipment manufacturers.
  3. In early fall, to support the construction of semiconductor R&D facilities that will further strengthen the U.S. semiconductor manufacturing eco-system.

“Defense”: It has been reported thatthe Biden administration is considering tightened licensing policies vis-à-vis a Chinese telecommunications company.

  • What’s next: The Biden Administration is preparing to inform House Foreign Affairs Committee Chair Michael McCaul (R-TX) and other members of Congress of the move.

What We’re Watching: US Coordinates “Defense Strategy” with Allies

Multilateral chips export controls agreement: At the end of January, the U.S. reportedly secured an agreement with the Netherlands and Japan to restrict exports of some advanced chipmaking machinery to China.

  • What’s new: It was reported recently that Japan will amend a foreign exchange law to deliver its commitment this coming spring. However, this new regulation might not mention China specifically to avoid retaliatory measures.

EU-US Trade and Technology Council (TTC): On January 31, the European Union Trade and Technology Dialogue (TTD) held its first Stakeholder Assembly. Following the third EU-U.S. TTC ministerial meeting in December 2022, the TTD Stakeholder Assembly collected feedback to prepare for the fourth TTC ministerial meeting.

  • What’s next: The next TTC ministerial meeting is expected to be held in Sweden, in June. European Commission Executive Vice Presidents Margrethe Vestager and Valdis Dombrovskis, as well as U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken and U.S. Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo, are all expected to attend.