Professor at Cornell University
- Implications for the semiconductor industry of President Biden signing the 2022 CHIPS and Science Act into law
- Extent to which chip manufacturing and supply chain issues exposed during the pandemic are driving increased need for domestic capacity expansion
- US-China foreign relations – shift in the status quo, Biden Administration's industrial plans and impact of Taiwan-related geopolitical dynamics on domestic semiconductor manufacturing
- Benefits from national and state level manufacturing subsidies and encouragement to increase capacity
- Possible future policy initiatives and funding avenues for semiconductor and related technologies
How have recent developments in the semiconductor sector been addressed by the US government? What has led to the passing of the CHIPS Act?
How would you describe the US government’s stance on the semiconductor manufacturing industry today? What is the Biden administration’s attitude towards the industry?
Can you discuss the strategy put in place by the Biden administration, and the reasoning behind its decision making that led to the passage of the CHIPS Act?
Could you expand on your opinion of why the US government and Biden administration is focused on being less reliant on TSMC and semiconductor supply chain going through Taiwan?
You mentioned there’s been this recent urgency within the Biden administration’s approach to managing the semiconductor supply chain. Do you think the pandemic was the primary catalyst behind this, or were there are other factors at play?
It seems what you’re saying is that the Biden administration is viewing inflation reduction initiatives as its primary mantle, and secondary to that is re-onshoring domestic semiconductor manufacturing capacity. How active do you expect the US or the Biden administration to be in managing its semiconductor related policy? If it’s a secondary initiative to fighting inflation, would it to be likely to open up the wallet for future stimulus right now or less likely?
As you mentioned, a big part of this messaging was geared towards bringing jobs back home. What is your evaluation of the Biden administration and Democratic Party leadership’s attitude toward the passage of the CHIPS Act? Do you think that message was at all geared towards the mid-term elections, as much as it was geared towards solving this hole in national security?
Do you think the US has learned any lessons or changed policy as a result of the Russia-Ukraine conflict? Has China learned any lessons from watching Russia’s invasion of Ukraine? Do you think that potentially pushed back the timeline of China’s stated goal of reunification of Taiwan with the mainland?
How likely is China’s stated goal of reunification of Taiwan, based on your assessment of how those trends have shifted the current geopolitical field?
Given a lot of what we’re seeing out of China today, particularly it’s mounting property crisis, do you consider those types of trends as having a possible impact on the country’s overall economic health and, thereby, the stability of China’s government itself? Do you think that shifts things at all, in terms of its stated goals in the region?
If some of these internal issues persist, could you anticipate China continuing to affect a more antagonistic approach towards its regional neighbours as a way for the government to project strength and distract from possible internal issues? Do you see it expanding the scope of provocations or sabre-rattling, such as the recent military exercises surrounding Taiwan, to potentially more directly challenge other regional players? You mentioned South Korea and Japan earlier.
How do you envision US-China relations and their evolution over the next 12-24 months? Where do you think we’re heading as we head into a new election cycle in the US?
What tools does the Biden administration have that it could use to leverage, or will leverage, to continue limiting China’s expansion? In July, the administration announced an embargo on lithography etching and measurement, testing process control devices to China below 28nm, impacting key semiconductor vendors such as Lam and KLA. What are your thoughts on export controls and similar tools that the Biden administration has at its disposal?
It seems what you’re describing is that the Biden administration has seemingly had, or maintained, a more reactionary stance against China’s more outward provocations in the region. At what point could you possibly see that changing, or do you think that the US government is adopting a more reactionary stance moving forward? Could you ever see the government adopting a more forceful or outwardly challenging tone towards China, or do you think those inflationary pressures keep that in check?
In response to Congresswoman Pelosi’s recent trip to Taipei, China’s government leveraged sanctions against certain members of her team. Do you think this action possibly has a transient or more permanent impact on US-China relations or signals any broader change in American policy stance on Taiwan by Democratic leadership? How do you assess the impact of that recent event?
Would you expect any other countries, such as India, to possibly double down on the incentives that they’re offering to either the United States or China to help widen the economic gap? I’m essentially also thinking the gap between the United States and Taiwan in terms of domestic semiconductor manufacturing capacity. What do you think regional neighbours and other allies are thinking about and monitoring as they’re watching this relationship unfold?
You mentioned SMIC being added to the Entity List under the later days of the Trump administration. How aggressive or conservative has the Biden administration been in adding companies to that list? Do you think the passage of the CHIPS Act changes anything in terms adding more China-based companies to the list moving forward?
How do you assess the long-term strategy of the US to drive semiconductor manufacturing back into the country? What do you think it could actually mean? We’ve read about as much as USD 500bn invested for as long as a decade to restore US leadership in semiconductor manufacturing. Do you think that the passage of the CHIPS Act passage is indicative of a recommitment to that broader strategy? Do you think that we could see continued investment in domestic semiconductor capacity?
What form do you think future funding and support for semiconductor manufacturing could take? You mentioned tax breaks or direct investment in the CHIPS Act. What types of initiatives or policy could policy makers prefer going forward?
Could you expand on the murkiness within the actual content and language of the CHIPS Act itself? Why do the CHIPS Act’s benefits seem relatively unclear in terms of what the direct commercial impact could be on the semiconductor market and reshoring efforts today?
One thing that’s been raised as a possible national security concern that wasn’t clearly addressed with the US CHIPS Act is the so-called brain drain in education and semiconductors, which seems to have risen in priority for the US. We’re talking about the fact that two-thirds of STEM PhD students in the US are foreigners today. There’s seemingly been a lack of investment in retaining those STEM degrees domestically. Do you think new policy could address those concerns? Do you think that’s on the administration’s radar to address?
What semiconductors and related technology players do you think potentially have the most lobbying power in Washington today? Is it mainly Intel, Samsung, TSMC or related lobbying groups?
Do you think big tech companies such as Amazon and Apple seemingly benefit indirectly from increased funding for domestic semiconductor capacity and research? Do you think they’re behind any of these efforts or, potentially, trying to help get any future policy initiatives over the finish line?
Is there anything additional you’d like to highlight regarding the semiconductor industry and related US policy?
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