A busy week at home and abroad

Friday, Jun 03, 2011, 2:28pm

by Semiconductor Industry Association


I just returned from Japan where I joined a delegation of SIA Board Members, company executives and staff in our participation in the 15th Annual Meeting of the World Semiconductor Council (WSC). The WSC is like the United Nations, but for semiconductors. It’s made up of representatives from the semiconductor industries in China, Chinese-Taipei, Europe, Japan, Korea, and the United States. This year, the group met in Fukuoka, Japan to address issues of global concern to the semiconductor industry and to expand international cooperation in the semiconductor sector.

One of the most significant achievements to come out of the WSC meeting is the announcement that WSC member companies have exceeded the initial 10 percent reduction goal for perfluorocompounds (PFCs) emissions, bringing total PFCs emissions down by 32 percent over a ten year period. PFCs are a group of greenhouse gases that are essential to the semiconductor manufacturing process. You can read all about the achievement in our press release here, Global Semiconductor Industry Exceeds Goal to Reduce Greenhouse Gases.

 What is most impressive about this accomplishment is that the global industry grew 32% in 2010, all while decreasing its impact on the environment. I applaud and congratulate all WSC member companies and organizations that played a role in this achievement, especially the U.S. semiconductor industry which lead the way.

Aside from the WSC, I had the opportunity to meet with several leaders of Japanese semiconductor and electronics companies on a range of issues. I was especially interested to learn about the tremendous progress Japanese companies are making in recovering from the March earthquake and tsunami. Many of the factories were able to repair damaged infrastructure within days and were up and running within weeks. Companies pulled together, shared resources and demonstrated a selfless sense of community in responding to this horrible natural disaster-it’s a story that deserves to be told more often and demonstrates the strength and resiliency of the business global business community.

Back home in Washington, DC we hosted a Congressional briefing on High-Skilled Immigration Reform. The idea behind the briefing was to educate Members of Congress and their staff on the challenges that the current immigration system poses to highly-skilled foreign-born graduates.

In order to maintain a rapid rate of innovation, technology industries must recruit and hire highly-skilled Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) graduates and while our country continues to invest in our own workers, we must also recognize that we do not have a monopoly on the world’s talented engineers and scientists.

In fact, one of America’s great strengths is that many of the world’s best students chose to come here to study.  Incredibly, 55% of master’s and 63% of Ph.D. graduates in electrical and electronic engineering from U.S. universities are foreign born.  Click here to view the Percent of U.S. Engineering Advanced Degrees Awarded to Foreign Nationals by State. (link)

The event was attended by over 50 staff from both the House and Senate and feedback from the event was highly positive. Overall the event underscored the fact that America’s most important natural resource is human ingenuity.

Stay tuned for more updates on public policy issues of importance to the semiconductor industry. In the meantime be sure to friend us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.