Semiconductor Value Chain

Chip Companies Outline Global Competitiveness Plan

29 May 2013

Global leaders in the semiconductor industry have agreed on a set of policy initiatives to strengthen the industry through global cooperation, according to the Semiconductor Industry Association (SIA).

The SIA, which represents U.S. leaders in the chip industry, made the announcement while attending the 17th annual meeting of the World Semiconductor Council (WSC) The WSC is a body of semiconductor industry executives from China, Chinese Taipei, Europe, Japan, Korea and the United States.

A top priority of the WSC is the expansion of the Information Technology Agreement (ITA), a key trade pact that provides for duty-free treatment of certain information technology products, including semiconductors. WSC delegation chairs sent a letter to ITA members urging a rapid conclusion of a commercially significant agreement.

The list of covered products has not been updated since the ITA's inception in 1996, and in the interim semiconductor designers and manufacturers have increasingly integrated additional electronic components into new types of next generation chips to increase functionality. The WSC cited two such semiconductor products that should be covered by an expanded ITA: multi-component integrated circuits (MCO) and multi-chip packages (MCP). Inclusion of MCOs in an expanded ITA would result in estimated global tariff savings of between $94 million and $188 million annually.

"The WSC's recommendations include elimination of tariffs, harmonization of regulations, and simplification of customs procedures," said Keith Jackson, president and CEO of ON Semiconductor and a member of the SIA’s Board of Directors. "These recommendations enable the world's consumers to enjoy the latest semiconductor technology at the lowest cost."

Industry leaders also made significant progress on the following issues:

  • Ensuring government compliance with the WSC Encryption Principles and working to promote these principles to other governments throughout the world.
  • Reconfirming that the competitiveness of companies and their products, not the interventions of governments and authorities, should be the principal determinant of industrial success.
  • Affirming the importance of trade facilitation in achieving free and open markets, reducing barriers to trade, and improving business conditions that provide significant benefits to governments, industry and consumers alike; the WSC announced its support for the WTO Trade Facilitation efforts and encouraged negotiators to conclude an agreement this year that embodies the WSC Trade Facilitation Principles.
  • Emphasizing the industry's commitment to anti-counterfeiting efforts.
  • Strengthening intellectual property (IP) rights and protections via work and analysis of issues related to utility model patents, patent quality, non-practicing entities and trade secrets.
  • Maintaining progress toward reducing the industry's PFC emissions.
  • Promoting innovation policy principles to guide governments on how to help industry generate greater innovation without distorting trade or impeding market access.
  • Addressing helium supply concerns.
  • Approving a WSC conflict-free supply chain policy.

Industry representatives from the six regions will deliver these recommendations to an annual meeting of their governments, called the Governments and Authorities Meeting on Semiconductors (GAMS), which will take place in Jeju, Korea this September. The GAMS meeting represents an opportunity for industry to convey the importance of implementing the recommendations and explore areas of mutual interest with governments and authorities worldwide.

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