Expansion of Key Trade Agreement Should be a Top Priority

Thursday, Feb 28, 2013, 12:00am

by Semiconductor Industry Association

Earlier this month, the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) completed an investigation into the proposed expansion of the Information Technology Agreement (ITA), which promotes fair and open trade by providing for duty-free treatment of certain information technology products, including semiconductors.

The ITA has been instrumental in helping the U.S. semiconductor industry drive innovation, create jobs, lower consumer prices and connect communities throughout the world, but the list of products covered under the ITA has not been updated since 1996. International negotiations are underway to expand and update the ITA, but strong leadership is needed from the Obama Administration in order to ensure that a deal gets across the finish line by the end of July.

Last November, SIA told members of the ITC that the ITA should be expanded to keep pace with the latest semiconductor products and technologies. ITA expansion also has the support of the World Semiconductor Council (WSC), a worldwide body of semiconductor industry leaders and executives from China, Chinese Taipei, Europe, Japan, Korea and the United States.

As consumers demand ever more sophisticated integrated circuit performance, semiconductor designers and manufacturers increasingly integrate additional electronic components into new types of next generation chips to increase functionality. SIA is advocating for the inclusion of two such semiconductor products to be included in an expanded ITA – multi-component semiconductors (MCOs) and multi-chip packages (MCPs) – as well as semiconductor manufacturing tools, equipment and materials.

Expanding the ITA is a common sense initiative that would strengthen the U.S. semiconductor industry and the overall U.S. economy.  Amid countless controversial policy debates in Washington, this one is a slam dunk with broad bipartisan support. We urge the Administration to make ITA expansion a top priority and ensure a favorable conclusion to the negotiations by the end of July.