WASHINGTON, D.C.—May 28, 2013—The Semiconductor Industry Association (SIA), representing U.S. leadership in semiconductor manufacturing and design, today announced that global semiconductor industry leaders reached an agreement at the 17th annual meeting of the World Semiconductor Council (WSC) last week on a set of policy initiatives to strengthen the industry through international cooperation. The WSC is a worldwide body of semiconductor industry executives from China, Chinese Taipei, Europe, Japan, Korea and the United States that meets annually to address issues of global concern to the semiconductor industry. Recommendations from this year’s meeting – held in Lisbon, Portugal – are outlined in the 2013 WSC Joint Statement.
“The World Semiconductor Council is a unique organization that is unrivaled in its mission and scope by groups in other industries,” said Ajit Manocha, SIA chairman and CEO of GLOBALFOUNDRIES. “The consensus reached in the 2013 WSC Joint Statement represents a significant step toward enacting sound policies that will open markets, increase consumers’ ability to benefit from semiconductor technology advances, maintain market-based competition, and protect the environment. I’m particularly encouraged by the WSC’s commitment to build and expand its relationships with multilateral trade policy institutions like the World Trade Organization (WTO) and World Customs Organization (WCO), which will help put us on the path toward achieving the plan set forth in the 2013 Joint Statement.”
A top priority expressed in the 2013 Joint Statement is the expansion of the Information Technology Agreement (ITA), a key trade pact that provides for duty-free treatment of certain information technology products, including semiconductors. WSC delegation chairs sent a letter to ITA members urging a rapid conclusion of a commercially significant agreement. The list of covered products has not been updated since the ITA’s inception in 1996, and in the interim semiconductor designers and manufacturers have increasingly integrated additional electronic components into new types of next generation chips to increase functionality. The WSC cited two such semiconductor products that should be covered by an expanded ITA: multi-component integrated circuits (MCO) and multi-chip packages (MCP). Inclusion of MCOs in an expanded ITA would result in estimated global tariff savings of between $94 million and $188 million annually.
“The WSC’s recommendations include elimination of tariffs, harmonization of regulations, and simplification of customs procedures,” said Keith Jackson, president and CEO of ON Semiconductor and member of the SIA Board of Directors. “These recommendations enable the world’s consumers to enjoy the latest semiconductor technology at the lowest cost.”
Industry leaders also made significant progress on the following issues:
• Ensuring government compliance with the WSC Encryption Principles and working to promote these principles to other governments throughout the world.
• Reconfirming that the competitiveness of companies and their products, not the interventions of governments and authorities, should be the principal determinant of industrial success.
• Affirming the critical importance of trade facilitation in achieving free and open markets, reducing barriers to trade, and improving business conditions that provide significant benefits to governments, industry, and consumers alike; the WSC announced its support for the WTO Trade Facilitation efforts and encouraged negotiators to conclude an agreement this year that embodies the WSC Trade Facilitation Principles.
• Emphasizing the industry’s commitment to anti-counterfeiting efforts.
• Strengthening intellectual property (IP) rights and protections via work and analysis of issues related to utility model patents, patent quality, non-practicing entities and trade secrets.
• Maintaining progress toward reducing the industry’s PFC emissions.
• Promoting innovation policy principles to guide governments on how to help industry generate greater innovation without distorting trade or impeding market access.
• Addressing helium supply concerns.
• Approving a WSC conflict-free supply chain policy.
Industry representatives from the six regions will deliver these recommendations to an annual meeting of their governments, called the Governments and Authorities Meeting on Semiconductors (GAMS), which will take place in Jeju, Korea this September. The GAMS meeting represents an opportunity for industry to convey the importance of implementing the recommendations and explore areas of mutual interest with governments and authorities worldwide.
“The semiconductor industry is critical to the global economy, enabling the technologies the world depends on and boosting job creation, manufacturing and innovation,” said Brian Toohey, president and CEO, Semiconductor Industry Association. “Now more than ever, our industry faces global challenges that require international cooperation to solve. The agreement reached by the World Semiconductor Council is a shining example of the industry’s commitment to meet this challenge head on by working together to strengthen the global industry for years to come.”
The complete 2013 WSC Joint Statement is available here.
For more information on the Semiconductor Industry Association, visit www.semiconductors.org.
For more information on the World Semiconductor Council, visit www.semiconductorcouncil.org.