Washington -- The Semiconductor Industry Association (SIA) reached an international collaboration agreement among global semiconductor industry leaders at the 19th annual meeting of the World Semiconductor Council (WSC) in Hangzhou, China last week. The leaders signed off on a series of proposals designed to strengthen the industry through greater cooperation.
The WSC is comprised of industry executives from China, Chinese Taipei, Europe, Japan, Korea and the United States. The group meets annually to address issues of concern to the global semiconductor industry.
"The World Semiconductor Council is a unique and effective forum for international collaboration, and its accomplishments on behalf of the global semiconductor industry are unrivaled by groups in other industries," said Ajit Manocha, 2015 WSC chairman of the U.S. delegation and former CEO of GLOBALFOUNDRIES, in a statement. "The initiatives outlined in the 2015 Joint Statement will help enable more effective communication, cooperation, and competition in the global semiconductor industry. I'm especially encouraged the WSC has remained steadfast in its commitment to achieve duty-free treatment for next-generation semiconductors through expansion of the Information Technology Agreement, which would be the most commercially meaningful trade agreement for the global technology industry in nearly two decades.
The WSC said it “seeks expanded coverage in the Information Technology Agreement (ITA) for new and innovative semiconductor products, including multi-component semiconductors (MCOs). An expanded ITA – estimated to cover $1 trillion in global sales of tech products – would provide the first opportunity to include in the existing agreement newly developed products resulting from the dynamic technological developments in the information technology sector since 1996, when the ITA was originally concluded. MCOs are an important new growth market for the semiconductor industry.”
WSC expects the inclusion of MCOs in an expanded ITA to save the industry $150 to $300 million in global annual tariffs.
In addition, the WSC also had a discussion with China's Ministry of Industry and Information Technology about China's semiconductor industry support policies and investment funds. The WSC reiterated its “view that government action related to such policies should be guided by market-based principles, and committed to continuing dialogue with relevant governments to promote fair, transparent, market-based, and non-discriminatory practices with regard to government support programs.”
The meeting also helped drive progress on several initiatives as released by WSC:
- Encryption – Deepened industry-government dialogue to work toward an improved global regulatory environment for products with encryption based on principles of market access, transparency, adoption of international standards, and non-discriminatory and open procedures and rules.
- Protection of Intellectual Property – Adoption of a joint set of "core" elements intended to serve as an international norm for national trade secret protection legislation. Continued progress on the WSC initiative to improve patent quality, and support for changes to domestic laws to simplify inventor remuneration practices.
- Customs and Trade Facilitation – Support for expeditious ratification and implementation of the WTO Trade Facilitation Agreement to facilitate free and open markets, reduce barriers to trade, and improve business conditions that will benefit governments, industry and consumers.
- Anti-counterfeiting – Strengthened cooperation with global customs and law enforcement agencies to combat semiconductor counterfeiting.
- Environment, Safety and Health (ESH) – Continued success in reducing the industry's PFC (perfluorocompound) emissions and calling on Governments/Authorities to take into account the industry's use and management practices when regulating essential chemicals.
- Conflict Minerals – Utilization of common, industry-developed tools to achieve a conflict-free supply chain.
- Growth Initiative – Promotion of semiconductor-enabled energy efficiency through the inclusion of semiconductor products in the Environmental Goods Agreement (EGA).
- Tax – Reduction of the potentially harmful impact of the OECD Base Erosion and Profit Shifting (BEPs) Action Plan by adopting measures to strengthen dispute settlement procedures and protect corporate information provided to governments in the master file and country-by-country reports.
- Industry representatives from the six regions will deliver these recommendations to an annual meeting of their governments, called the Governments and Authorities Meeting on Semiconductors (GAMS), which will take place in San Francisco in October. The GAMS meeting represents an opportunity for industry to convey the importance of implementing the recommendations and explore areas of mutual interest with governments and authorities worldwide.
"The semiconductor industry fuels innovation, job creation, and economic growth in the United States and around the world," said Greg Lang, president and CEO of PMC, in a statement. "Ours is a global industry with global challenges, and we must work collaboratively with our international counterparts to solve problems and ensure fair and open competition. The agreement reached by the World Semiconductor Council is a clear step forward that will help open markets, boost innovation, and increase consumers' access to cutting edge semiconductor technologies."