Trump Administration Talks With Chipmakers Over Building US Factories


Go local? Officials in Washington reportedly talk to two semiconductor companies about constructing chip factories in the United States

The Trump administration is reportedly in talks with semiconductor companies about building chip factories in the United States.

This is according to representatives of two chipmakers, namely Intel and Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co (TSMC), Reuters reported.

One of the core promises of Trump’s election as President in 2016 was his pledge to encourage companies to keep or create jobs in the United States rather than sending them abroad. This meant retaining and encouraging firms to keep or build new factories in America.

US factories

Trump has had some success in this regard among technology firms.

In February 2017 for example then Intel CEO Brian Krzanich stood beside Donald Trump at the Resolute desk in the Oval Office to announce that the US chipmaker would invest $7 billion to open a factory (Fab 42) in Arizona, which it claimed at the time would be “the most advanced semiconductor factory in the world”.

Intel’s Fab 42 factory in Chandler, Arizona, is expected to start production sometime this year.

Apple boss Tim Cook also revealed in 2017 that his firm would establish a $1 billion (£776m) fund to promote advanced manufacturing jobs in the United States, although most of its iPhones are manufactured in the far east.

And now Intel is in discussions with the United States Department of Defense over improving domestic sources for microelectronics and related technology, Intel spokesman William Moss was quoted as saying by Reuters in an emailed statement.

“Intel is well positioned to work with the US government to operate a US-owned commercial foundry and supply a broad range of secure microelectronics”, the statement added.

The other firm that US officials are talking with is Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co (TSMC), which is reportedly talking with the US Department of Commerce about building a US factory.

China tensions

However it said it has not made a final decision yet.

“We are actively evaluating all the suitable locations, including in the US, but there is no concrete plan yet”, TSMC spokeswoman Nina Kao was quoted as saying in a statement.

The effort by US officials comes amid a backdrop of increasing American tensions with China during the Coronavirus lockdown, with President Trump blaming the Chinese for the spread of the virus.

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Author: Tom Jowitt
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