Meeting of Semiconductor Associations from Around the World Underscores Importance of Global Chip Sector Collaboration

Thursday, Mar 02, 2023, 10:30am

by Jennifer Meng, Director of Global Policy

A U.S. Semiconductor Industry Association delegation (SIA) will travel to Xiamen, China for the 75th World Semiconductor Council Joint Steering Committee (JSTC) meetings from March 7-10. The meetings will include our industry counterparts from China, Chinese Taipei, the EU, Japan, and Korea. This will be SIA’s first trip to China since the start of COVID and represents an important opportunity to discuss shared industry concerns about recent issues relating to trade, global supply chain, government support, environmental, and other developments.

The semiconductor industry is one of the most globally integrated industries, spanning dozens of nations with thousands of suppliers. As a result, semiconductors are the fourth-most traded good with nearly $1.5 trillion in annual trade flows. While the United States is rightly focused on supply-chain resilience and rebuilding our industrial base with the passage and enactment of the CHIPS Act, as U.S. Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo recently stated,[1] the U.S. can never be fully self-sufficient. This means access to global markets and supply chains is integral to the future success of the U.S. semiconductor industry. In fact, more than 80% of all U.S. semiconductors are sold overseas, meaning the new fabs and jobs created with support from the U.S. CHIPS Act will need greater access to global markets to be financially viable and globally competitive. SIA and its members are committed to both rebuilding American supply chains while further promoting more access to global markets and facilitating increased global trade through deeper international collaboration with all key partners and nations.

Essential to this mission is the World Semiconductor Council (WSC).[2] Established in 1996 as a forum for the world’s key semiconductor-producing nations and regions, its role is to help coordinate industry and government initiatives and policies to ensure our industry remains healthy. Few industries have such a body, and from day one, the WSC has been a shining example of our industry’s commitment to international cooperation and policies that foster fairness and openness in the semiconductor industry. For example:

  • The WSC has successfully promoted a tariff-free global environment for the trade of semiconductor products, successfully adding Multi-Component and Multi-Chip and Multi-Component packages (MCOs and MCPs) to the WTO’s Information Technology Agreement.
  • On the environmental front, the WSC was recognized by the U.S. Environment Protection Agency (EPA) as part of its first Climate Protection Award, in recognition of the semiconductor industry’s efforts to commit to significant reductions in emissions of greenhouse gases used in the semiconductor manufacturing process. Under the umbrella of the WSC, the global industry has exceeded its initial 10% reduction goal for perfluorocarbons (PFC) emissions and achieved a 32% decrease over a ten-year period.[3]The WSC also coordinated efforts of the global industry to eliminate the use of PFOS, a chemical of concern previously used in semiconductor manufacturing, and in efforts to phase out the use of another chemical, PFOA.
  • Most recently, the cooperation among WSC members was critical to keeping semiconductor operations up and running during COVID forced closures. All six WSC members swiftly signed three COVID-related global industry statements, having real, meaningful impact to convince governments around the world to designate our sector as “essential.”

These are just a few examples of how the strong relationships and trust built through the WSC have helped our industry prosper. As we look to the future, SIA remains committed to working with our counterparts in China, Chinese Taipei, Japan, Korea, and Europe through the WSC and GAMS to establish a vibrant global policy and innovation ecosystem for our industry and ensure the world continues to reap the benefits of innovative solutions to any future challenges.

Next week’s JSTC meeting will tee up the work for the CEO-level WSC meeting, which will take place in May this year in Seoul to prepare detailed policy recommendations to their governments for the annual Government Authorities Meeting on Semiconductors (GAMS). The U.S. will then host the 2023 GAMS meeting in Phoenix, Arizona this October. The WSC and GAMS are invaluable forums, unmatched by other sectors, providing a unique opportunity for our industry to convey the importance of cooperation and explore areas of mutual interest with our governments and authorities.

With global trade tensions on the rise, there is an urgent need for government policies that support open markets, innovation, and secure and resilient global supply chains. We look forward to continuing to pursue these policies alongside our global counterparts at next week’s JSTC meeting in Xiamen.