The Trump administration is reportedly in talks with major semiconductor manufacturers, including Intel and TSMC, to establish factories in the United States.
According to reports, discussions are focused on getting chipmakers to set up their units within the country, reducing American reliance on Asian countries, especially China, to source critical parts for chips and other microelectronics.
This news comes in at a tricky time for US and Chinese relations. President Donald Trump has blamed the Chinese government of deliberately hiding details about the coronavirus, while the Chinese have been busy rubbishing the American claims.
Bi-party trade relations have already been strained for some time, with the US having accused and banned several Chinese companies of spying and espionage.
Intel is reportedly already in discussion with the US Department of Defense, with the company’s vice president of policy and technical affairs Greg Slater stating this could be a “great opportunity”. Slater added that Intel is “very serious” about the plan to provide advanced computing chips to both US government and other customers.
Intel’s spokesperson, William Moss said in a prepared statement, “Intel is well-positioned to work with the U.S. government to operate a U.S.-owned commercial foundry and supply a broad range of secure microelectronics.”
On the other hand, TSMC or Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co, has not yet made a final decision on building a factory in the US and is still evaluating available options, despite long-running talks with the U.S. Department of Commerce.
TSMC spokeswoman Nina Kao said in a statement, “We are actively evaluating all the suitable locations, including in the U.S., but there is no concrete plan yet.”
A similar Wall Street Journal report suggested that Apple and TSMC were in talks of setting up a chip manufacturing facility in the United States. The report also mentioned that the government official had approached the South Korean tech giant Samsung to expand its chip manufacturing operation in the country. Samsung already has one such factory in Austin, Texas.
While all or one of these companies may agree to the idea of setting up a facility in the United States, it may be a long and complicated process and they may still have to be dependent on the Asian supply chain for critical spare parts.