© TSMC General | May 21, 2020
Senate Dems to Trump: Release details of TSMC plant deal
Democratic lawmakers are pressuring the Trump administration to respond to serious questions about Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co Ltd’s (TSMC) plans to build a USD 12 billion plant in Arizona, which the company announced last week.
On May 15, TSMC issued a press release stating its intention to build the plant, with “the mutual understanding and commitment to support from the U.S. federal government and the State of Arizona.” Exactly what that support might look like from the federal government, as well as potential security concerns, caught the attention of congressional lawmakers, Reuters is reporting. Following the announcement by TSMC, Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross called the deal “a renaissance in American manufacturing.” The company said the plant, which has a production target of 2024, will have a capacity for 20,000 semiconductor wafers per month, directly create more than 1,600 high-tech professional jobs, plus thousands of indirect jobs throughout the semiconductor industry. “This U.S. facility not only enables us to better support our customers and partners, it also gives us more opportunities to attract global talents. This project is of critical, strategic importance to a vibrant and competitive U.S. semiconductor ecosystem that enables leading U.S. companies to fabricate their cutting-edge semiconductor products within the United States and benefit from the proximity of a world-class semiconductor foundry and ecosystem,” the press release read. At issue is the key role that TSMC, a key supplier to Chinese telecom giant and U.S. blacklisted Huawei, plays in the battle between the Trump administration and Beijing. Reuters is reporting that TSMC will be poised to fall under the jurisdiction of a new U.S. rule designed to curb chip supplies to Huawei. In response to TSMC’s announcement of the deal, on Tuesday, Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY), Patrick Leahy (D-VT), and Jack Reed (D-RI) sent a letter to Ross and Defense Secretary Mark Esper voicing their “strongly support” of efforts by the administration to increase U.S.-based chipmaking, cut called for greater transparency and implored the Trump administration to consider domestic chip manufacturers who are already producing chips in the U.S. In part, the letter read, “We have serious questions as to how this project takes into consideration national security requirements and how it aligns with a broader strategy for building a diverse U.S. semiconductor manufacturing supply chain. We ask that you cease any such negotiations or discussions until you have briefed the relevant authorization and appropriations committees with your plans, including any commitments you have made to funding, tax breaks, licensures, or other incentives. The letter also stated that a “one-off investment like the TSMC facility is inadequate to rebuilding U.S. manufacturing capacity in microelectronics, which is essential to our national and economic security,” and further added that “a comprehensive plan should include working with other industry leaders like Micron, GlobalFoundries, and Cree, among others…”