SEMI testifies against third round of U.S. tariffs citing damage to semiconductor supply chain

By Jay Chittooran

In testimony last week before a U.S. government interagency panel considering tariffs on $200 billion worth of Chinese goods, SEMI called for the removal of nearly 100 tariff lines, all of which cover items critical to the semiconductor manufacturing process, including materials and machines.

Jonathan Davis, global vice president of advocacy at SEMI, explained in his testimony that while SEMI strongly supports efforts to better protect valuable intellectual property (IP), tariffs will not help address Chinese trade practices, and will ultimately have significant and unintended consequences. SEMI asserts that these tariffs will harm companies in the semiconductor supply chain by increasing business costs, introducing uncertainty, and stifling innovation. Collectively, SEMI estimates that this round of tariffs will cost its 400 U.S. members more than tens of millions annually in additional duties. All told, SEMI estimates that all U.S. and Chinese retaliatory tariffs will cost members nearly $700 million in annual duties.

SEMI’s full written comments note that these tariffs, on top of those already in force and the retaliatory tariffs, will hamstring the industry. The tariffs seem to target U.S. firms for simply operating in China. Given that tools and materials are extremely complex, precise, and difficult to manufacture, it is unreasonable to believe that a constituent component can simply be replaced with a part from another source. Further, this U.S. government approach does not take into account that many items  subject to these tariffs are not available, at sufficient quality and cost, from domestic sources, or even non-Chinese sources. We stand steadfast in our belief that this trade action will raise prices, put thousands of high-paying and high skill jobs at risk, and curb growth.

Over the past four months, SEMI submitted written comments and offered testimony on the two previous rounds of tariffs, citing the damaging impact tariffs would have on the U.S. semiconductor industry. The first round of tariffs – on $34 billion worth of Chinese goods – took effect July 6, and the second round – targeting $16 billion in Chinese imports – will be imposed on August 23. The tariffs hit machines and tools central to the semiconductor industry, including equipment used to manufacture wafers, boules, and chips as well as test, inspection and sensing equipment.

We urge SEMI members to review the $200 billion U.S. tariff list to determine the level, if any, of impact. We also strongly encourage members to review Chinese retaliatory lists as well. Any SEMI members who have questions, should contact Jay Chittooran, Public Policy Manager at SEMI, at jchittooran@semi.org.

Originally published on the SEMI blog.

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One thought on “SEMI testifies against third round of U.S. tariffs citing damage to semiconductor supply chain

  1. Concerned

    SEMI is a US based organization that now has divided loyalties. The conflict between open trade and national competitiveness / security are serious topics. The trend over last 20 years as China has risen using US developed technologies transferred to it by members of SEMI must be discussed openly and not couched behind free trade pieties

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