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New tech coalition seeks US aid to respond to chip shortage

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The shortage of semiconductors threatens to hit a variety of economic sectors from mobile phones and game consoles to automobiles. AFP/File

New tech coalition seeks US aid to respond to chip shortage

A newly formed coalition of technology firms on May 11 called for $50 billion in US government aid to boost incentives for domestic semiconductor manufacturing in the face of a deepening chip shortage.

The Semiconductors in America Coalition urged Congress to allocate funds for research and manufacturing, calling the effort essential for economic and national security.

The coalition – which includes giants including Apple, Microsoft, Google, Amazon, AT&T and Verizon and several dozen other firms – said it seeks funding for the CHIPS for America Act, which was passed by lawmakers earlier this year but without funds appropriated.

"Semiconductors are the brains of the systems and technologies that enable America's economic growth, national security, digital infrastructure, and global technology leadership," said John Neuffer, president and CEO of the Semiconductor Industry Association, whose member firms are part of the coalition.

"Leaders from a broad range of critical sectors of the US economy, as well as a large and bipartisan group of policymakers in Washington, recognise the essential role of semiconductors in America's current and future strength."

The shortage has added to a supply crunch for the technology sector and a variety of other manufacturing sectors including automotive as the economy emerges from a pandemic-induced slowdown.

"To address this problem in the short term, government should refrain from intervening as industry works to correct the current supply-demand imbalance causing the shortage," the coalition said in a letter to congressional leaders.

"But for the longer term, robust funding of the CHIPS Act would help America build the additional capacity necessary to have more resilient supply chains to ensure critical technologies will be there when we need them."

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