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US Commerce secretary highlights 'tough' talks under way with chipmakers over grants

Feb. 27, 2024 - 09:13 By Yonhap
US Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo speaks during a forum hosted by the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington on Monday. (CSIS)

US Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo reiterated Monday that "tough" talks have been under way with advanced semiconductor companies over grants to be awarded under a program to reinvigorate chip manufacturing in the United States.

Speaking at a forum, Raimondo said that the US government has thus far received over 600 statements of interest from relevant companies, and that "leading-edge" companies alone have requested more than $70 billion in grants for their manufacturing projects in the US.

Industry watchers have said that foreign firms like Samsung Electronics Co. and Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. could be beneficiaries under the Chips Act that provides $39 billion in grants. Her department plans to invest about $28 billion of the total in incentives for leading-edge chipmakers.

"Leading-edge companies alone have requested more than $70 billion. So that means we have a lot of tough conversations," she said at the forum hosted by the Center for Strategic and International Studies.

"We are engaging the industry in a spirit of collaboration, and they have been incredible partners. But as I said, I am obsessed with protecting taxpayer money," she added.

Raimondo indicated that she has been driving a hard bargain with CEOs of chipmakers.

"They come in, they asked for billions of dollars. Reasonable. I tell them you will be lucky to get half of that," she said. "Then, they come in again to finalize the deal where they get less than half of what they wanted, and they tell me they are not feeling lucky."

The secretary also highlighted a US plan to produce 20 percent of the world's leading-edge logic chips in the US by 2030.

"I am confidently standing before you to say by the end of the decade, we are going to go from zero to 20 percent," she said. "The supply chains will also come along with that. Supply chains can no longer be as vulnerable to geopolitical challenges a they are today." (Yonhap)