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SIA drafts global tariff policy

Posted: 28 May 2012 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:chip tariff? multichip packages? chip industry?

Executives from leading companies in the semiconductor industry laid the groundwork for lobbying governments to completely eliminate tariffs on chips.

At the 2012 World Semiconductor Council meeting this week here top executives from the six global regions came to a consensus to eliminate tariffs from multichip packages, a sore point among the six SIA-affiliated regions.

"We were able to agree that for the good of the industry and the growth of the semiconductor industry we should petition respective governments to eliminate tariffs all chips including multichip packages," said Brian Toohey, president of the Semiconductor Industry Association, which conducts the yearly WTC in each of the six regions. This year was SIA-US turn to host and it chose Saratoga Springs, NY due to the area's emerging status as a cluster for semiconductor innovation.

The six regions represented at the WTC are SIA affiliates from China, Europe, Japan, Korea, Taiwan and the U.S.

The WSC-2012 agreement on chip tariffs has been seven years in the making. The WSC, established and run by top executives since its inception in 1996, has worked on such issues as putting an end to investment restrictions tied to technology transfer requirements, among others.

"We held the WSC meeting here in Saratoga Springs because we felt strongly that we need to build innovation clusters similar along the lines we have here in upper New York State," said Ajit Manocha, chief executive officer of Gloablfoundries, and a member of SIA's board of directors. Globalfoundries' most modern 400mm fab is coming online near here in Malta, in large part as the result of favorable tax conditions and indirect investments from New York State.

Globalfoundries' $4.6 billion investment in Fab 8, the presence of IBM facilities and the research going on at College of Nanoscale Science & Engineering (CNSE) at the University of Albany, contributed to the SIA's selection of upstate New York as the 2012 WSC meeting location, according to Manocha.

The recent announcement of the Global 450 Consortiuma $4.8 billion investment by the State of New York in partnership with Intel, IBM, Globalfoundries, TSMC and Samsung to create 450mm fab for producing the next generation of computer chip technologyreinforced the SIA's decision, according to Toohey.

Manocha and three other members off the board of directors of SIARich Beyer the soon to retire CEO of Freescale Semiconductor; Mark Durcan, CEO of Micron Technology; and Ray Stata chairman of the board of Analog Devices Inc.gave their views on WTC's work at a roundtable discussion at the conclusion of the meeting. Policies were adopted in the areas of the environment, encryption, IP regulations, and counterfeit ICs.

"We need a right balance between setting conditions for innovation and enforcing reasonable regulations in order for the U.S. to regain manufacturing back from foreign shores," said Micron's Durcan.

"There was an unusual sense of congeniality at this week's meeting and passing the elimination of tariffs on chips as a recommendation is a home run in my book," said ADI's Stata.

Freescale's Beyer emphasized that another issue that had consensus is that of encryption. "We are trying not to have companies be forced to reveal information on encryption of data in chips as some governments are demanding," said Beyer. "I think we are making progress here."

At the traditional WTC dinner on Thursday night, earlier announced speaker NYS Governor Andrew Cuomo asked the Lieutenant Governor to stand in. "True to the governor's earnest attempt to say that New York State is 'open for business' I'd like to leave my business cards here on the podium for anyone who is looking to invest in our state. Let's talk," said lieutenant governor Robert Duffy after expounding why to invest here to the packed room of "smartest people in the industry" of more than 150 international semiconductor industry executives.

- Nicolas Mokhoff
??EE Times

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