SIA Semiconductors

Policy Priorities

Trade

The semiconductor industry continues its expansion to every corner of the globe, advancing and enriching the lives of people the world over.  Free and open international trade is a primary engine of global growth and development, and continues to be a principal goal of SIA's policy agenda.

 SIA continues to pursue a number of global trade objectives, including:

  • Eliminating new tariffs on emerging semiconductor devices;
  • Supporting new trade agreements;
  • Advancing environmental initiatives and trade liberalization through the Word Semiconductor Council (WSC);
  • Improving intellectual property protection worldwide;
  • Increasing market access internationally and removing non-tariff barriers; and
  • Upholding strong anti-dumping laws and effective anti-dumping remedies.

SIA has successfully pursued many key policy objectives through participation in the World Semiconductor Council (WSC). The WSC is composed of executives from SIA members companies, as well as counterparts in China, Chinese Taipei, Europe, Korea, and Japan.

The Governments/Authorities Meeting on Semiconductors (GAMS) is comprised of officials from the US Government and officials representing all WSC regions, and convenes once a year to receive the WSC's recommendations and take action.

Since its inception in 1996, the WSC has worked to advance a number of trade issues, including:

  • Support for intellectual property protection;
  • Full transparency of government policies and regulations;
  • Non-discrimination for foreign products in all markets;
  • Voluntary and industry-led standards;
  • An end to investment restrictions tied to technology transfer requirements; and
  • Zero duties on semiconductor products, including multi-chip packages (MCPs) and multi-component integrated circuits (MCOs).


Additionally, the WSC leads an active environmental program. Our goal is to support sound, scientifically based, positive environmental policies and practices. Specific projects include PFC emission reduction, energy savings, chemical management, and quantitative targets. We have met or exceeded our targets every year. On energy savings, the WSC is actively supporting cooperation and the sharing of information among members to foster the efficient utilization of energy resources. Chemical management is also a key focus of WSC efforts - specifically in the areas of chemical risk assessment and pollution prevention.

For more information on the WSC visit, http://www.semiconductorcouncil.org

SIA has strongly supported deals that provide tariff-free treatment for semiconductors – most notably the Information Technology Agreement (ITA), which eliminated tariffs on virtually all information technology goods in all major world markets, resulting in tariff savings of $3 billion to the industry over a two-year period. However, new advances in technology that were unanticipated when the ITA tariff deals were signed have led customs authorities around the world to begin to re-impose duties on some semiconductor products. So-called multi-chip packages (MCPs) and muli-component integrated circuits (MCOs) are key examples of this situation.

Evolution in the packaging of certain semiconductor devices - which allows more than one piece of silicon inside a package but does not alter the underlying basic functionality of the product - has caused these products to be reclassified for customs purposes and led to the imposition of duties for the first time in years. SIA maintains that this is an evolution in packaging, not a revolutionary change in product, and that these products should be treated for tariff purposes as any other semiconductors, which are duty free in all major markets.

 

In 2006, the U.S., Japan, Korea, Europe, and Chinese Taipei agreed to eliminate tariffs on MCPs – a value of $150 million in 2006-2008. However, the definition was not as broad as hoped. Efforts continue to broaden tariff free coverage for the next set of products, MCOs. At the 2012 World Semiconductor Council Meeting, industry reached a consensus definition of MCO and recommended that WSC governments and authorities provide duty free treatment for MCOs.

As the United States’ largest exporting industry SIA is a strong advocate of expanded trade liberalization, and actively supports two trade agreements currently under negotiation: the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and the expansion of the Information Technology Agreement (ITA) to additional countries and products.

Information Technology Agreement (ITA) Expansion

The 1996 ITA agreement is one of the most meaningful and successful trade agreements in the World Trade Organization (WTO). Two-way trade of products covered by the ITA has grown from $1.2 trillion to $4 trillion in the past 15 years, a 233 percent increase. Yet, while the ICT sector has exploded with new and improved products since the ITA came into force, the scope of the agreement has never been expanded.  SIA supports expansion of the ITA to additional countries and products. Specifically, SIA continues to advocate for:

  • The inclusion of a broad range of semiconductor design and manufacturing equipment and materials, along with new types of integrated circuits such as multi-chip packages (MCPs) and multi-component integrated circuits (MCOs), within an expanded ITA; and
  • Binding commitments from countries to join the ITA upon accession to the WTO.

 

Preliminary estimates indicate that an expanded ITA could completely remove tariffs on at least an additional $800 billion in ICT trade globally, a 20 percent increase over the $4 trillion now covered annually. ITA expansion will also help address the question of inclusion of “next generation” or “breakthrough” technologies, thereby helping to promote continued innovation in the ICT sector.

Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) 
SIA has partnered with fellow associations to advocate for information communication technology (ICT) priorities within the TPP. SIA will continue to advocate for TPP commitments related to:

  • Strong protection of intellectual property and trade secrets;
  • Removal of non-tariff barriers and discriminatory policies;
  • Removal of impediments to e-commerce;
  • Adherence to international norms and standards.



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