Semiconductors — the tiny chips that enable modern technologies — are critical to America’s economy, job creation, technology leadership, and national security. For 50 years, America has led the world in semiconductor innovation, driving transformative advances in nearly every modern technology, from computers to mobile phones to the Internet itself.
Today, semiconductors underpin the most exciting “must-win” technologies of the future, including artificial intelligence, quantum computing, and advanced wireless networks. To secure America’s leadership in these future technologies for the next 50 years, the United States must continue to lead the world in semiconductor research, design, and manufacturing.
Technology challenges and ambitious steps by foreign governments, however, put at risk continued semiconductor innovation and U.S. leadership in this sector.
The Winning the Future blueprint lays out the ambitious policy actions needed to confront these challenges and help ensure America continues to lead the world in semiconductor technology.
By implementing these policies, Congress and the Administration can take key steps to protect American leadership in semiconductor technology and win the global competition for the technologies of the future. These initiatives will help steer America toward a future of innovation leadership and economic growth, while also bolstering our national security.
Semiconductors were invented in America, and the U.S. still leads the world in leading-edge semiconductor research, design, and manufacturing. U.S. semiconductor companies commanded nearly half of the $469 billion global semiconductor market in 2018.
About half of U.S. semiconductor companies’ advanced manufacturing base is in the United States, and 19 states are home to major semiconductor manufacturing facilities. The United States exported $44 billion in semiconductors in 2018 and maintains a consistent trade surplus in semiconductors, with more than 80 percent of U.S. semiconductor companies’ sales going to overseas customers. And about one-fifth of U.S. semiconductor companies’ sales gets plowed back into R&D, driving remarkable semiconductor innovation.
Advancements in semiconductor technology have been measured by “Moore’s Law,” the observation that the number of transistors on an area of silicon will double roughly every 18 to 24 months. For more than 50 years, the ability of the semiconductor industry to maintain this rapid pace of innovation has propelled a technology revolution through massive increases in computing power at lower costs.
To maintain our innovation trajectory for the next 50 years and win the competition for global leadership in the technologies of the future, the U.S. must lead the world in semiconductor innovation.