SEMI Washington D.C. Office Leads Meetings on EU RoHS Recast


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SEMI Washington D.C. Office Leads Meetings on EU RoHS Recast

With the European Union (EU) Parliament working to make changes to its regulation of hazardous substances (RoHS) directive which could have a major impact on the semiconductor industry, the SEMI Washington D.C. office organized two days of meetings with embassy staff of EU member states on September 13-14 to discuss industry concerns. SEMI staff was joined by representatives from member companies Applied Materials and Oerlikon Solar to discuss concerns regarding the possible inclusion of equipment manufactured by SEMI members falling into scope regulated by EU RoHS.

The intent of the RoHS regulations is to control hazardous substances in consumer electronics that end up in the waste stream and have the potential to harm human health. Because semiconductor industry tools are large, self-contained instruments that are professionally installed, maintained, and dismantled, much of the concern that applies to consumer electronics does not apply to the semiconductor equipment industry. As these rules would also apply to solar photovoltaic equipment, any unnecessary restrictions on such tools would have an impact on the European solar manufacturing industry, which is already fighting to stay competitive with other global PV manufacturing centers, such as Asia.

A team of five industry representatives met with a variety of European officials from attaches to minster counselors to discuss industry concerns of the proposals on the table. The biggest concern is the potential for the unintended consequences of subjecting semiconductor tools to RoHS regulations, thus hampering the ability of high tech companies to survive in the EU. Meetings were held with staff from Belgium, the EU, France, Hungary, Italy, Poland, and Spain, which followed meetings that were held the previous week in Brussels by SEMI RoHS Working Group Co-Chair, Lauren Crane of Applied Materials.

For the time being, it appears that SEMI’s efforts in D.C. and Brussels have been effective in maintaining an exemption for the industry as it appears that semiconductor industry equipment will be excluded in the EU RoHS recast. SEMI and the SEMI RoHS Working Group will continue to monitor these issues closely for changes that could negatively impact the industry.

For more information on the SEMI Washington D.C. office’s work on the EU RoHS Recast, please contact Jamie Girard at jgirard@semi.org. For more information on the SEMI RoHS Working Group, please contact Sanjay Baliga at sbaliga@semi.org.

November 2, 2010