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Scalise: More activity awaits SIA in DC

Posted: 09 Apr 2010 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:SIA transition? semiconductor? Silicon Valley?

The Semiconductor Industry Association disclosed last year plans to close its office in Silicon Valley at the end of 2010 and say goodbye to its president of the past 14 years, George Scalise. The U.S. chip industry will continue to pursue its agenda through an expanded office in Washington D.C. with a new leader to be named probably in August.

We talked with Scalise about the transition ahead and his tenure at the SIA.

EE Times: What does it mean that the SIA is leaving Silicon Valley?
George Scalise: I think more than anything else what it says is there is more activity in Washington at the legislative and regulatory levels that could have increasing impact on the industry, and we have to spend more time in Washington dealing with these issues.

Does it also say Silicon Valley is no longer a center for chip making, but more the home of big systems and software companies such as Cisco and Google who are represented by groups like TechNet?
That's true. There's very little semiconductor manufacturing in California anywhere which is a shame because there's no reason it couldn't be here and be cost effective. But there has never been enough interest from local and state governments to look at the issue and decide what we need to do attract new investments.

They are losing a lot of manufacturing that could be here if they were more aggressive. The Unites States has to learn we have to compete for investment.

How does that fit in your political agenda going forward?
We have three pillars. We want funding for basic [semiconductor] research. We want immigration reform to let foreign-born students go to school here and stay on and work and become citizens. Thirdly, we want government to be more aggressive in competing with foreign countries in investment.

Our wafer fabs in United States continue to be very competitive with any country in the world. The only thing that alters that level of competition is the tax policies, incentives and grants provided to go there rather than invest here. Washington has to realize [economic policy is] about more than international trade, it's about competition for investment and we have to have policies to make it attractive for U.S. and foreign companies to invest in the United States.

What do you consider your greatest achievements?
Our primary goal is to make the U.S.-based semiconductor industry successful competing in world market. We've done that extremely well with the U.S. representing now more than 50 percent of the worldwide market as of last year. In the 1980's we addressed problems of [chip] dumping and market access in Japan.

Secondly we want to continue to fund research to solve problems that could get in the way of Moore's Law. We've been successful in that regard helping form groups like Sematech and the Semiconductor Research Corp.

We established an office in China five years ago and established through that outstanding relationships with leaders in the federal government and mayors of largest cities.

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