By Diane Bartz
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo on Thursday said the government will encourage companies to build at least two advanced domestic computer chip factories employing thousands of union workers, as part of a $52.7 billion dollar initiative.
The centers would also include a “robust supplier ecosystem,” Raimondo said in a speech in Washington.
“America needs to design and produce the world’s most advanced chips right here in America,” Raimondo said, adding that the United States leads in design but not manufacturing.
Congress in August approved $52.7 billion for semiconductor manufacturing and research and cleared a 25% investment tax credit for chip plants, estimated to be worth $24 billion, and $39 billion in government semiconductor chips subsidies to build new or expand U.S. facilities. The effort was sparked by concerns about China.
Raimondo said the department planned to invest $11 billion in semiconductor research and development, including the creation of a public-private partnership she called the National Semiconductor Technology Center.
The department said in mid-February that it was naming more than a dozen members to a team overseeing $52.7 billion in government funding to boost semiconductor manufacturing and research. The team includes officials with experience managing large federal programs as well as semiconductor experts.
The United States has some chip production, and signs of expansion despite a very tight labor market.
South Korea’s Samsung Electronics has a big presence in Texas, and plans to expand with additional plans near Austin and Taylor, Texas.
Taiwanese chipmaker TSMC began building a plant in Arizona late last year. And global giant Intel Corp is building a chip factory in Ohio.
(Reporting by Diane Bartz; Editing by David Gregorio)