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Gina Raimondo, US commerce secretary, speaks during the SelectUSA Investment Summit in National Harbor, Maryland, on June 27, 2022. Photo: Bloomberg

US commerce secretary urges lawmakers to pass US$52 billion chip-making bill, warning companies could turn elsewhere

  • US Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo said companies will look to other countries if funding bill for semiconductor industry is not passed by September
  • Despite bipartisan support and a global chip crunch, lawmakers have failed to reach consensus on a final version of the sprawling package
US Commerce Department Secretary Gina Raimondo on Monday stepped up pressure on Congress to approve US$52 billion in funding for chip makers to expand operations, warning that firms would abandon American expansion plans without the legislation.

“Mark my words … if Labour Day comes and goes and this Chips Act isn’t passed by Congress, these companies will not wait and they will expand in other countries,” she warned in an interview on CNBC.

Both houses of Congress have passed versions of legislation to make the United States more competitive with China that include the chip funding.

However, lawmakers have so far failed to reach consensus on a final version of the sprawling package, despite a global chip crunch.

Taiwan’s GlobalWafers plans US$5 billion silicon wafer plant in Texas

Raimondo’s warning came after Taiwan’s GlobalWafers announced plans earlier on Monday to build a US$5 billion plant in Sherman, Texas to produce the silicon wafers needed for manufacturing chips. Raimondo said the company’s CEO told her the investment was contingent on Congress approving the funding.

“The consequences to our national security are grave. If we don’t get this passed, and if you’re not going to be able to get everything you want in this, it’s time to move on because we cannot wait,” she admonished lawmakers.

GlobalWafers did not immediately respond to a Reuters’ request for comment.

The persistent industry-wide shortage of chips has disrupted production in the automotive and electronics industries, forcing some firms to scale back production.