by John Neuffer, President and CEO
During last night’s State of the Union Address, President Trump highlighted achievements from his first year in office and laid out his policy agenda for 2018. The President touched on a range of issues, including some of great significance to the U.S. semiconductor industry, such as tax, trade, and immigration. Moving forward, SIA remains focused on working with the Trump Administration and Congress to advance policies that will strengthen the U.S. semiconductor industry, the broader tech sector, and our economy. The unifying objective of our 8-point policy plan, outlined below, is to promote U.S. economic growth and innovation, while allowing American businesses to compete on a more level playing field with our competitors abroad.
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Research: Research is the driving force behind innovation in the semiconductor industry and throughout our economy. U.S. semiconductor companies annually invest about one-fifth of revenue in R&D, among the highest shares of any industry. We will continue to urge government to serve as a partner in this effort by substantially increasing federal investments in scientific research at DARPA, NIST, NSF, and DOE. We’ll also push policymakers to implement and support research programs that advance next-generation semiconductor technologies.
Trade: With more than 80 percent of U.S. semiconductor companies’ sales coming from overseas customers, unfettered access to global markets is critically important. We will work to maintain and expand access to these markets and support robust global trade. We’ll also urge enforcement of international trade rules to maintain a level playing field for U.S. businesses.
Tax: Enactment late last year of sweeping legislation to reform America’s outdated corporate tax system is a welcome and long-overdue win for the U.S. semiconductor industry and a major step toward sustaining U.S. leadership in semiconductor research, design, and manufacturing. In 2018, we will work to help shape the regulations needed to implement the corporate tax reform provisions contained in the new tax law. We’ll also push to preserve the lower rate on intangible income and incentives for research and innovation.
Export Control: Semiconductors are America’s fourth-largest export, following aircraft, refined oil, and automobiles, and a key driver of U.S. economic strength. SIA will advocate for liberalizing controls of 5G technologies and other commercial products to allow U.S. semiconductor companies to effectively compete in the global market for commercial and dual-use 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 2018, we’ll work to ensure the regulations governing industry emissions of climate gases and the use of essential chemicals and materials enable continued innovation and provides the industry with sufficient flexibility.
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 significant health, safety, and security risks. SIA will work with U.S. Customs and Border Protection and other enforcement agencies to 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 improve patent quality, reduce abusive patent litigation, and increase the protection of trade secrets.
A robust U.S. semiconductor industry is fundamental to America’s economic, technological, and national security infrastructure. SIA looks forward to working with Congress and the Trump Administration in the year ahead to advance policies that strengthen our industry, the broader tech sector, and the U.S. and global economy.
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