China against US’ plan to boost domestic semiconductor manufacturing: Biden

The US president spoke of the importance of semiconductors and the need to boost its domestic manufacturing, a key policy priority for his administration.
President Joe Biden answers questions from reporters in the Roosevelt Room of the White House, in Washington on Wednesday. (AP)
President Joe Biden answers questions from reporters in the Roosevelt Room of the White House, in Washington on Wednesday. (AP)
Updated on May 04, 2022 10:41 PM IST
Copy Link

WASHINGTON: Directly accusing China of intervening in American legislative processes, US President Joe Biden has said that the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) is lobbying to oppose the passage of the CHIPS Act, which is meant to create incentives to boost semiconductor manufacturing, in the US Congress since it is linked to national security.

Biden made the charge while speaking at a Lockheed facility in Alabama responsible for assembling Javelin missiles on Tuesday. The US and its allies have sent 5,500 Javelins to Ukraine to bolster its defences against Russian aggression till date. Biden has also asked the US Congress for an additional $33 billion to enhance security and economic assistance to Ukraine.

In the course of his speech, Biden also spoke of the importance of semiconductors and the need to boost its domestic manufacturing, a key policy priority for his administration. The US, according to the Department of Commerce’s National Institute for Standards and Technology, was historically dominant in the semiconductor global supply chains, but its share of global fabrication capacity has dipped from 40% in 1990 to 11% in 2020 even as their role in a range of industries, from automobiles to emerging technologies, has sharply increased.

To make up for this lag, the Creating Helpful Incentives to Produce Semiconductors for America, also known as the CHIPS Act, was embedded in the National Defense Authorisation Act. In June 2021, the US Senate passed a legislation the US Innovation and Competition Act, which included a $52 billion in federal investments for domestic semiconductor research, design and manufacturing provisions of the CHIPS Act. In February 2022, the House of Representatives passed the America Competes Act, which has a similar provision for semiconductors. Both chambers now need to arrive at a joint legislation which will then be signed into law by Biden.

“Fundamentally, this is a national security issue. This is one of the reasons why the Chinese Communist Party is lobbying folks to oppose this bill. And it’s an issue that unites Democrats and Republicans. Let’s get this done,” Biden said.

After touring the Lockheed facility, the president said he had learnt that each Javelin included more than 200 semiconductors. “I have been a broken record, as the press will tell you, on our need to be able to produce more semiconductors in the United States…We invented the sucker…we, the United States. We are the one that modernised it. We have done more than anybody else. But guess what? We stopped investing in ourselves. And so now we are back in the game, making sure that we become the primary producers of those semiconductors - computer chips that power much of our lives.”

Pointing out that semiconductors were critical to defence production capacity, Biden said it was both why the US was making it hard for Russia to get hold of semiconductors and advanced technologies, and why it was taking steps to source it domestically during a time of global shortage.

Urging the Congress to act quickly to provide the emergency funding for the CHIPS Act by passing the broader Bipartisan Innovation Act, Biden sad, “I am determined to make sure the US holds the technological high ground in competition with other nations, especially China.”

Thirty-five years ago, the US used to invest 2% of its entire GDP in research and development and now it does half of that. “We used to be number one in the world. Now we are number 13 in the world…The US used to own the innovation field.”

The Innovation Act, Biden said, would reverse “decade-long decline in federal research and development investment”, create jobs, expand US manufacturing and strengthen national security.

“Where in God’s name is it written that the United States can no longer be a leading manufacturer in the world? We have the best workers, the most competent employees, the best science in the world?”, Biden said. Saying that today, all the world’s most advanced chips were made overseas, the US president, in another indirect allusion to China, claimed that the events of the past few years had shown that America’s security should never be held hostage to events overseas - “not a pandemic, not a war, not the politics or ambition of other countries”.


    Prashant Jha is the Washington DC-based US correspondent of Hindustan Times. He is also the editor of HT Premium. Jha has earlier served as editor-views and national political editor/bureau chief of the paper. He is the author of How the BJP Wins: Inside India's Greatest Election Machine and Battles of the New Republic: A Contemporary History of Nepal.

Close Story

Less time to read?

Try Quickreads

  • Professor Ajay Agrawal, who was honoured with the Order of Canada in the 2022 list. (Credit: University of Toronto)

    Two Indo-Canadian academics honoured with Order of Canada

    Two Indo-Canadian academics, working on research to advance the betterment of mankind, have been honoured with one of the country's most prestigious awards, the Order of Canada. Their names were in the list published by the office of the governor-general of Canada Mary Simon. Both have been invested (as the bestowal of the awards is described) into the Order as a Member. They are professors Ajay Agrawal and Parminder Raina.

  • SpaceX founder and chief engineer Elon Musk.

    Elon Musk's Twitter hiatus, in 2nd week now,  generates curiosity 

    The world's richest person, Elon Musk, has not tweeted in about 10 days and it can't go unnoticed. The 51-year-old business tycoon has 100 million followers on the microblogging site, which he is planning to buy. Since April, he has been making headlines for the $44 billion deal and his comments and concerns about the presence of a large number of fake accounts on Twitter.

  • A Taliban fighter stands guard at a news conference about a new command of hijab by Taliban leader Mullah Haibatullah Akhundzada, in Kabul, Afghanistan.

    Taliban's reclusive supreme leader attends gathering in Kabul: Report

    The Taliban's reclusive supreme leader Haibatullah Akhundzada joined a large gathering of nationwide religious leaders in Kabul on Friday, the state news agency said, adding he would give a speech. The Taliban's state-run Bakhtar News Agency confirmed the reclusive leader, who is based in the southern city of Kandahar, was attending the meeting of more than 3,000 male participants from around the country, aimed at discussing issues of national unity.

  • James Topp, a Canadian Forces veteran who marched across Canada protesting against the Covid-19 vaccines mandates, speaks to supporters as he arrives at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier and the National War Memorial ahead of Canada Day in Ottawa, Ontario, on Thursday. (REUTERS)

    July 1: Canada to mark 155th anniversary of its formation

    As the country prepares to celebrate the 155th anniversary of the formation of the Canadian Confederation, Canada Day, the traditional centre of festivities, Parliament Hill in Ottawa, will be off limits as protesters linked to the Freedom Convoy begin gathering in the capital for the long weekend. Various events have been listed by protesters including a march to Parliament Hill on Friday.

  • This image of a "Most Wanted" poster obtained from the FBI on June 30, 2022, shows Ruja Ignatova. - Ignatova, dubbed the "Crypto Queen." after she raised billions of dollars in a fraudulent virtual currency scheme was placed on the FBI's 10 most wanted fugitives list June 30, 2022. (Photo by Handout / FBI / AFP) / 

    Bulgaria's ‘Crypto Queen’ Ruja Ignatova added to FBI's most-wanted list

    A Bulgarian woman dubbed the "Crypto Queen" afteIgnatovahe raised billions of dollars in a fraudulent virtual currency scheme was placed on the FBI's 10 most wanted list Thursday. The Federal Bureau of Investigation put up a $100,000 reward for Ruja Ignatova, who disappeared in Greece in October 2017 around the time US authorities filed a sealed indictment and warrant for her arrest.

Story Saved
Saved Articles
My Reads
Sign out
New Delhi 0C
Saturday, July 02, 2022