Semiconductor Leaders Collaborate with Governments to Advance Free Trade

Monday, Oct 26, 2015, 3:27pm

by Semiconductor Industry Association


SAN FRANCISCO—Oct. 26, 2015—Semiconductor industry leaders last week met with governments from around the world at the 16th annual Governments/Authorities Meeting on Semiconductors (GAMS). The meeting was co-hosted in San Francisco by the Semiconductor Industry Association (SIA), the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative, and the Department of Commerce. Meeting participants discussed and reached agreement on policy recommendations encompassing a range of international trade initiatives that will strengthen the semiconductor, electronics, and technology industries in the United States and around the world. GAMS is comprised of government officials and authorities from China, Chinese Taipei, the European Union, Japan, Korea, and the United States who meet annually to work with industry leaders to address issues of global importance to the semiconductor industry.

“The GAMS process is a shining example of the semiconductor industry’s unparalleled commitment to collaborating with governments from across the globe to advance common interests, address mutual challenges, and facilitate free trade and open competition,” said John Neuffer, president and CEO of SIA, which represents U.S. leadership in semiconductor manufacturing, design, and research. “The outcomes achieved at this year’s meeting will help spur growth in the U.S. semiconductor industry, the broader tech sector, and our economy.”

Representatives from participating governments/authorities made significant progress on several key trade policy initiatives, including achieving consensus on the need to swiftly implement tariff-free treatment of next-generation semiconductors (referred to as multi-component semiconductors, or MCOs) in an expanded Information Technology Agreement (ITA). MCOs comprise a growing share of the global semiconductor market and will be key to continued growth and innovation in a vast range of downstream products, services, and sectors. Inclusion of MCOs in an expanded ITA will save the industry hundreds of millions of dollars in global tariffs annually. An expanded ITA product list, including MCOs, was agreed to in July, and negotiating parties are now determining implementation timeframes, or “staging,” for phasing out tariffs.

GAMS representatives also made substantial progress toward adoption of policies to prevent restrictions on encryption technology, establish fair and open procedures related to regional government support programs, streamline semiconductor trade through ratification of the World Trade Organization’s Trade Facilitation Agreement, safeguard intellectual property, stop the flow of counterfeit semiconductors, and protect the environment, among other initiatives.

The complete set of industry policy recommendations delivered to GAMS, agreed at the 19th annual meeting of the World Semiconductor Council (WSC) in Hangzhou, China in May 2015, is available here.

About SIA

The Semiconductor Industry Association (SIA) is the voice of the U.S. semiconductor industry, one of America’s top export industries and a key driver of America’s economic strength, national security, and global competitiveness. Semiconductors – microchips that control all modern electronics – enable the systems and products we use to work, communicate, travel, entertain, harness energy, treat illness, and make new scientific discoveries. The semiconductor industry directly employs nearly a quarter of a million people in the U.S. In 2014, U.S. semiconductor company sales totaled $173 billion, and semiconductors make the global trillion dollar electronics industry possible. SIA seeks to strengthen U.S. leadership of semiconductor manufacturing, design, and research by working with Congress, the Administration and other key industry stakeholders to encourage policies and regulations that fuel innovation, propel business and drive international competition.