On June 8, 2021, the White House published a set of reports on the 100-day interagency reviews (“Reports”) conducted pursuant to Executive Order 14017 (“Supply Chain EO”), which assessed supply chain risks and vulnerabilities for several supply chains, including those relating to semiconductor manufacturing and advanced packaging, and made policy recommendations to address those risks.
The Reports suggest that export controls on semiconductor-related equipment and technology can help protect the technological advantage of the United States in semiconductors by limiting the export of items that would contribute to the development of advanced semiconductor capabilities in countries of concern. In particular, the Reports recommend that the US government:
- Target and implement export controls that can support policy actions to identify and address vulnerabilities in the semiconductor manufacturing and advanced packaging supply chain;
- Target and implement export controls on critical semiconductor equipment and technologies to address supply chain vulnerabilities; and
- Collaborate and coordinate with key supplier allies and partners on effective multilateral controls.
The recommendations are broadly scoped, and the Reports do not recommend or preview more specific export controls that the US government might implement itself, or develop with its allies or partners. However, the Reports are suggestive of several categories of items that might be targeted with enhanced export controls (e.g., additional export licensing requirements based on particular export control classification numbers). In particular, the Reports identify significant competitive advantages enjoyed by US-based providers of electronic design automation tools and semiconductor intellectual property cores at the semiconductor design stage. At the manufacturing stage, the Reports identify US strengths in the production of front-end semiconductor manufacturing equipment (e.g., etching, doping, deposition, and polishing or chemical mechanical planarization) and back-end testing equipment. Companies that export such items will want to closely monitor any potential export control-related developments.
- The Reports recommend that the US government target and implement export controls on semiconductor-related equipment and technologies.
- Companies that export semiconductor-related equipment and technologies from the United States should monitor any potential export control-related development that follow from the Reports.
- Non-US companies that transfer semiconductor-related equipment and technologies to China may need to consider the potential impact of heightened multilateral controls on their business.
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