White House officials chat with Intel and TSMC on the construction of semiconductor foundries in the United States, according to a report by the Wall Street Journal. US tech companies and government have been trying to reduce the country’s dependence on chip factories in Asia for years, as highlighted by national security concerns, the US-China tariff war and now the COVID-19 pandemic , which has disrupted supply chains and logistics around the world.
The WSJ also reported that some US officials have also spoken to Samsung Electronics on expanding its existing contract manufacturing operations in the United States to produce more advanced chips.
Intel, TSMC and Samsung Electronics are capable of making chips 10 nanometers or less, the fastest and most energy efficient chips on the market today.
In a April 28 letter obtained by the WSJ, Intel CEO Bob Swan told the Department of Defense that the company was prepared to build a commercial smelter in partnership with the Pentagon “given the uncertainty created by the current geopolitical situation ”.
Intel already has operations in the United States that manufacture chips for its own products, but the new plant would also serve other companies. TSMC, a Taiwanese manufacturer of semiconductor contracts, would continue to manufacture chips for other companies (customers include Qualcomm, Nvidia and Advanced Micro Devices).
The newspaper reports that TSMC has been in talks with defense and trade officials and Apple, one of the biggest customers, over the construction of a semiconductor plant in the United States.
In a statement to TechCrunch, a spokesperson for TSMC said: “TSMC has always been open to building fabs abroad and does not rule out anything. We are actively evaluating all relevant sites, including the United States, but there is no concrete plan yet. It all depends on customer needs. “
Other solutions that have been proposed by US officials and industry groups include public investment in the domestic chip industry to support the high cost of foundry construction, tax credits for semiconductor manufacturers to buy and install equipment in US factories, and implement more export restrictions for the United States. companies that ship electronic chips to buyers in China.
TechCrunch contacted Intel and TSMC for comments.