The US will seek greater independence from China’s semiconductor production , something Xi Jinping did not like.
The US Congress on Thursday passed legislation freeing up $52 billion in subsidies to restart US semiconductor production , and billions more for research and development.
The text, approved on Wednesday in the Senate, obtained 243 votes in favor -including 24 Republicans-, and 187 against in the House of Representatives.
President Joe Biden is due to sign the law into law, an important victory after a long battle, as the midterm congressional elections approach in November.
This law “will lower the cost of everyday living and create well-paying industrial jobs,” he said in a statement after the vote.
The president spoke by phone on Thursday with Chinese President Xi Jinping , whose government condemns a law that “under the pretext of strengthening US competitiveness, reduces scientific and technological cooperation” between the two countries.
Seeking to avoid another shortage
The demand for microchips, a key component of modern electronics, exploded during the pandemic, due to the increase in the consumption of electronic products, generating a global shortage exacerbated by the closure of Chinese factories due to COVID-19 .
The lack of chips has hit the United States , whose market share in global production of these components has fallen sharply in recent years at the hands of manufacturers in Asia .
The auto industry was particularly hard hit, sending vehicle prices skyrocketing.
“The pandemic revealed serious vulnerabilities in our supply chains, particularly our reliance on some regions for some essential materials,” US Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo said in a statement.
Intel , GlobalFoundries , Samsung and TSMC are the world’s leading chip-producing companies, so they stand to benefit. Both Intel and Samsung have ambitious plans for factories in the United States , which will cost billions of dollars.
The government has even warned about the risk that the shortage of semiconductors poses to national security, since many military equipment requires these components.
The agreement in Congress between the Democratic ruling party and the Republican opposition took months to arrive.
It is estimated that the law – which even plans to reinforce the security of the Supreme Court of the United States – totals a package of 280 billion dollars.