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Opinion
Thomas Black

Chips Act Won’t Work Without Every Part of the Chip

It doesn’t make sense for the US to invest billions of dollars to support the manufacturing of semiconductors if they have to be shipped to Asia to be completed.

The US needs ready access to all stages of the chipmaking process, even the low-margin ones.

The US needs ready access to all stages of the chipmaking process, even the low-margin ones.

Photographer: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

The US was awakened by the pandemic to the gaping holes in its supply chains for crucial medical supplies and electronics. One of the most significant was semiconductors, the pieces of silicon that hold millions of tiny transistors that are needed in everything from automobiles to toys.

The Chips and Science Act devotes $52 billion to begin to remedy a decades-long trend of US production drifting away to lower cost regions, mostly to Asia and especially to China. The rebuilding of that supply chain and manufacturing capacity will take years, but it will come to naught unless all the components, even the low-margin ones, have a presence in the Americas, if not the US.