The Semiconductor Industry Association (SIA) today announced that global semiconductor industry leaders reached an agreement at the 18th annual meeting of the World Semiconductor Council (WSC) last week on a series of policy proposals to strengthen the industry through international cooperation. The WSC is a worldwide body of semiconductor industry executives from China, Chinese Taipei, Europe, Japan, Korea and the United States that meets annually to address issues of global concern to the semiconductor industry. Recommendations from this year’s meeting – held in Taipei, Taiwan – are presented in the 2014 WSC Joint Statement.
“The World Semiconductor Council provides a unique and effective forum for global semiconductor leaders to identify challenges of mutual concern and develop a plan to overcome them,” said Ajit Manocha, 2014 WSC chairman of the U.S. delegation and former CEO of GLOBALFOUNDRIES. “The initiatives presented in the 2014 Joint Statement represent a significant step toward enacting policies that encourage open communication, intergovernmental cooperation, and fair competition throughout the world. I’m especially gratified by the WSC’s unrelenting commitment to achieving duty-free treatment for next-generation semiconductors through expansion of the Information Technology Agreement, which would be one of the most valuable agreements for the global high tech industry in over a decade.”
The Information Technology Agreement (ITA) provides for duty-free treatment of certain information technology products, including semiconductors. An expanded ITA would generate an estimated total of $1.4 trillion in annual world trade. It would provide the first opportunity to include newly developed products resulting from the dynamic technological developments in the information technology sector since 1996, when the ITA was originally concluded.
The WSC seeks expanded coverage in the ITA for new and innovative semiconductor products, including multi-component semiconductors (MCOs). MCOs comprise a growing share of the global semiconductor market, and will be key to continued growth and innovation in a vast range of downstream products, services, and sectors, providing the basis for much needed economic growth and jobs. Inclusion of MCOs in an expanded ITA would result in global annual tariff savings of between $150-300 million.
Industry leaders are said to have discussed the following issues:
- Developing a set of actions to combat semiconductor counterfeiting.
- Strengthening intellectual property (IP) rights and protections via work and analysis of issues related to utility model patents, patent quality, abusive patent litigation, and trade secrets.
- Working with global governments on implementation of encryption standards and regulations to eliminate problematic practices.
- Expressing the need for all governments and industries to maintain market-oriented practices and make sure that success is based on real competitive value.
- Affirming the global industry’s commitment to improving export control processes and procedures.
- Maintaining progress toward reducing the industry’s PFC emissions and ensuring proper attention to other environmental and supply chain matters.
- Asserting the critical importance of trade facilitation in achieving free and open markets, reducing barriers to trade, and improving business conditions that provide significant benefits to governments, industry, and consumers alike.
Industry representatives from the six regions will deliver these recommendations to an annual meeting of their governments, called the Governments and Authorities Meeting on Semiconductors (GAMS), which will take place in Fukuoka, Japan this October. The GAMS meeting represents an opportunity for industry to convey the importance of implementing the recommendations and explore areas of mutual interest with governments and authorities worldwide.
“The semiconductor industry is a key driver of economic growth and innovation in the United States and around the world,” said Brian Toohey, president and CEO, Semiconductor Industry Association. “Ours is a global industry with global challenges. We must work proactively and cooperatively with our international counterparts to ensure we have fair, open, and transparent access to international markets. The agreement reached by the World Semiconductor Council offers a path forward that opens markets, increases consumers’ ability to benefit from the latest semiconductor technologies, and strengthens market-based competition.”