SEMI Global Trade Seminar in China focuses on shifting U.S.-Sino relations

By Jay Chittooran

Meeting Attended by More than 100 Tech Company Representatives

Over the past decade, China has become a central market for the semiconductor industry. China is now home to more than 30 percent of semiconductor end users worldwide. All semiconductor companies, regardless of size, operate in China. The rise of China’s semiconductor market has been enabled by global commerce and a vast network of supply chains that span the globe.

With China now a prominent player in the industry, it has become critically important for semiconductor companies to effectively engage with China. In order to help our member companies better understand the challenges and opportunities and navigate what can be a complex landscape, SEMI hosts annual trade compliance conferences in China for trade professionals. This year, SEMI, with CompTIA and U.S. Information Technology Office (USITO), hosted two global trade seminars in China, one in Shanghai on October 30th and the other in Beijing on November 1st.

Over 120 representatives from more than two dozen technology companies attended the 2018 trade compliance seminars. Over the course of the two sessions, speakers from government, business, and law firms highlighted the most pressing trade issues in China. Speakers included thought leaders, trade practitioners and senior Chinese government officials.

Sessions included a deep dive on China’s draft customs reform law, a panel discussion on U.S. export controls, and a briefing on how best to engage with China Customs and how China’s products are classified. Another well-received session focused on the status of China’s export control law, which has been in the drafting process for years.

However, the overarching question for many attendees was U.S.-China economic relations, which are undergoing a sea change, with the U.S. having imposed or threatened tariffs on all imports from China – totaling more than $500 billion in goods – over the past six months. As a speaker noted during a session on the U.S.-China tensions and the surrounding broader geopolitical impacts, the environment is becoming increasingly complex and volatile. In fact, on the morning of the first session, Fujian Jinhua Integrated Circuit was added to the U.S. Commerce Department’s entity list, which effectively restricts exports to the company.

As a result of the trade actions, ranging from tariffs to enhanced export controls, U.S. semiconductor companies are beginning to increase prices, reduce research and development (R&D) budgets, restructure supply chains and take other mitigation actions that will ultimately slow innovation. Certain export controls and other regulations that prohibit U.S.-companies from conducting business with targeted companies will put the U.S. at a competitive disadvantage.

In fact and as we speak, some companies with China-based operations have cancelled orders from U.S. companies and shifted to suppliers that are not subject to U.S. actions to reduce the associated risks of supply interruption and cost increases. Ultimately, U.S. trade policy could backfire, threatening jobs, curbing growth, cutting U.S. R&D investments and compromising the competitiveness of U.S. firms.

SEMI will begin planning next year’s Global Trade Seminar in the coming months. If you would like to be involved in the planning, or would simply like more information about the seminar, please contact Jay Chittooran, Public Policy Manager at SEMI, at [email protected].


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