Our 2017 Policy Plan to Spur U.S. Semiconductor Industry Growth and Innovation

Thursday, Feb 02, 2017, 5:30pm

by John Neuffer, President and CEO

With the presidential inauguration behind us and the 115th Congress now underway, SIA is focused on working with the Trump Administration and Congress to enact policies that will strengthen the U.S. semiconductor industry, the broader tech sector, and our economy. The unifying goal of our 8-point policy plan, outlined below, is to promote U.S. job creation, economic growth, and innovation, and to allow American businesses to compete on a more level playing field with our competitors abroad.

Tax: The U.S. tax code puts American companies at a competitive disadvantage to their foreign competitors. Other countries provide lower corporate tax rates, more robust incentives for R&D, modern international tax systems that do not subject business activities outside their borders to taxation, and other beneficial tax provisions. These substantial incentives offer overseas competitors a significant advantage in the global marketplace. SIA will work with policymakers to make the U.S. tax system globally competitive through a lower, globally competitive rate, movement toward a modern international tax system, and strong incentives for research and innovation.

Research: The semiconductor industry has followed Moore’s Law to unimaginable levels, enabling smaller, more powerful and energy-efficient devices while reducing costs to consumers. Our industry annually invests about one-fifth of revenue in R&D, a greater share than any other industry. We will continue to urge government to serve as a partner in this effort by substantially increasing federal investments in university-based, pre-competitive research at DARPA, NIST, NSF, and DOE.  We’ll also push policymakers to implement and support research programs to advance semiconductor technology and innovation.

Trade: With 82 percent of U.S. semiconductor companies’ sales coming from overseas customers, free access to global markets is critically important. We will work to maintain and expand access to these markets and support robust international trade. We’ll also urge enforcement of international trade rules in order to maintain a level playing field for U.S. businesses.

Export Control: Semiconductors are America’s #3 manufactured export, following automobiles and airplanes, and a key driver of U.S. economic strength. SIA will push for streamlining export control regulations to allow U.S. semiconductor companies to effectively compete in the global market for commercial semiconductors.

Workforce: The U.S. semiconductor industry includes some of the best, brightest, most innovative minds in the world. We must strengthen America’s technology workforce by promoting policies that attract and retain high-skilled workers in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) fields. Over the long term, investing in STEM education is critical to developing the skills of the future American workforce.

Environment, Health, and Safety: The semiconductor industry is an acknowledged global leader in promoting environmental sustainability in the design, manufacture, and use of its products, as well as the health and safety of its operations and impacts on workers in semiconductor facilities. In 2017, we’ll work to achieve appropriate regulations governing industry emissions of climate gases and the use of essential chemicals and materials, and safeguard the supply of materials critical to semiconductor manufacturing.

Anti-counterfeiting: Semiconductors are embedded into countless products and systems that perform critical functions in our society. The failure of a single component in one of these products or systems can cause health, safety, and security risks. SIA will promote enforcement against counterfeit semiconductor products and increase prosecutions of counterfeiters. We’ll also work to reduce the supply of counterfeit semiconductors, especially in the government supply chain, by strengthening policies that encourage procurement through authorized sources.

Intellectual Property: Intellectual property is the lifeblood of semiconductor innovation and strong protection of IP is essential to our continued success. Semiconductor companies, including several SIA members, are regularly among the top recipients of U.S. patents each year. SIA will support balanced reforms to reduce abusive patent litigation and increased protection of trade secrets.

Maintaining a strong U.S. semiconductor is of strategic importance to America’s economic strength, national security, and technological leadership. SIA looks forward to working with Congress and the new administration in the year ahead to advance policies that strengthen our industry, the broader tech sector, and the U.S. economy.