Computer Chip Group SEMI to the EU: New Export Limits Should Be ‘Last Resort’

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Computer Chip Group SEMI to the EU: New Export Limits Should Be 'Last Resort'
Computer Chip Group SEMI to the EU: New Export Limits Should Be 'Last Resort'

SEMI Europe, a semiconductor industry group, issued a position paper this week urging the European Union to think twice before enacting additional export limits or foreign investment regulations.

The European Union should think twice before implementing new export controls or foreign investment laws, according to SEMI Europe, a semiconductor industry group, in a statement released this week.

The warning follows the European Commission’s January presentation of a set of initiatives aimed at enhancing “economic security” and preventing unwanted technology transfers to rivals such as China.

While the EU is correct in weighing the risks of rivals obtaining European technology, SEMI Europe claimed that free trade agreements were the best approach to protecting security “in geopolitical crisis scenarios.”.

“To ensure the long-term success and prosperity of the European semiconductor industry, our companies must be as open as possible in their investment decisions or else risk losing their agility and relevance.”

The European Commission aims to harmonize export regulations, strengthen incoming investment vetting, and investigate if European companies’ investments overseas constitute a threat.

“We felt it was the appropriate time to respond,” SEMI Europe spokesman Stefano Orlando said on Tuesday.

The association represents firms from across the European chip industry, such as ASML, NXP, Infineon, and STMicroelectronics, as well as prominent research institutions Imec in Belgium, Fraunhofer in Germany, and CEA Leti in France.

SEMI warned that heavy-handed monitoring of inward investments could deter businesses and “undermine the potential success of the European Chips Act,” the bloc’s attempt to equal state backing for the chip industry in response to comparable programs in China and the US.

Intel and Taiwan’s TSMC have declared ambitions to develop new semiconductor plants in Europe, but neither has received subsidies.

Following a drive by the US government to limit China’s ability to make its own advanced computer chips, the Dutch government has prohibited ASML, Europe’s largest technology corporation, from selling several of its goods to China.

“In light of the recent geopolitical tensions and the prominent role that export controls in the semiconductor industry have played in this, it has become increasingly necessary for the EU to speak with a common voice,” SEMI said in a statement.

“Export controls should indeed be a last resort for cases with genuine concerns for national security.”

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