SEMI Urges Presidential Candidates to Commit to Technology Leadership
Association Proposes Policy Agenda to Support American High-Tech Manufacturing Supply Chain
WASHINGTON, D.C. – July 14, 2008 – SEMI North America, the regional division of the global industry association, today wrote to presidential candidates Senator John McCain (R-AZ) and Senator Barack Obama (D-IL), urging them to make technology policy a top priority. The association, which represents manufacturers of equipment and materials used to make semiconductor, photovoltaics, flat panel displays and related technologies, detailed six key areas directly affecting the industry. These areas are: federal R&D investment, the R&D tax credit, the solar energy investment tax credit, high-skills immigration reform, trade policy and intellectual property protection.
The semiconductor equipment and materials industry supplies enabling technologies necessary to produce every semiconductor-based product including cellular phones, computers, medical devices, and many other high-tech products. The U.S.-based semiconductor equipment and materials industry employs roughly 100,000 people and has facilities in 37 states. In addition, U.S.-based firms make up about 39 percent of the US$ 85 billion market.
“The semiconductor equipment and materials industry is absolutely critical to the American economy and our global competitiveness,” said Victoria Hadfield, president of SEMI North America. “SEMI strongly supports initiatives aimed at supporting U.S.-based companies that provide new manufacturing technologies and materials that enable a wide range of microelectronics and other electronic products to be faster, more powerful and affordable. These issues should be a key part of the campaign debate and top priorities for the next Administration.”
SEMI urges the presidential candidates to commit to:
Federal Investment in R&D
SEMI urges the U.S. government to double federal R&D investments in key science agencies over the next seven years to reverse steadily declining domestic investment in basic research.
Permanent R&D Tax Credit
SEMI urges the government to improve and permanently extend the federal R&D tax credit. This credit helps make the U.S. a more attractive location to base R&D, but the last credit expired at the end of 2007 and has lapsed several times since it was created. While temporary tax credits are useful, SEMI contends that they do not allow companies to plan over the long term.
Solar Energy Investment Tax Credit
SEMI urges the U.S. government to demonstrate its commitment to the development of alternative energies through the extension of the solar energy investment tax credit. Renewal of this tax credit would strengthen an important high-tech industry that provides a critical alternative energy and promotes its use in the U.S. In addition, SEMI believes that such a credit would attract new investment in the U.S., which would create new jobs and spur economic growth.
Bolster Science and Technology Education and Reform High Skills Immigration Policy
While we must do more to strengthen the U.S. education system and attract more Americans to scientific fields, an efficient immigration system that welcomes highly-educated foreign nationals to the U.S. workforce is critical to the American economy. Therefore, the association urges the government to increase the cap on H-1B visas and to streamline the path to citizenship for people with advanced degrees in critical scientific fields.
Exports and Open Markets
SEMI strongly supports efforts to keep international trade expansion as an economic priority. Because the semiconductor equipment and materials industry is heavily dependent on exports, SEMI supports revising export controls to reflect the current state of technology, the changing global economic environment, and the actual relationships between semiconductor equipment and security interests.
Intellectual Property Protection
SEMI urges the U.S. government to work with trading partners to ensure that they have effective IP protection and enforcement policies and to ensure that they adhere to their IP commitments.
For more information on SEMI Public Policy initiatives, visit www.semi.org.
SEMI is the global industry association serving the manufacturing supply chains for the microelectronic, display and photovoltaic industries. SEMI member companies are the engine of the future, enabling smarter, faster and more economical products that improve our lives. Since 1970, SEMI has been committed to helping members grow more profitably, create new markets and meet common industry challenges. SEMI maintains offices in Austin, Beijing, Brussels, Hsinchu, Moscow, San Jose, Seoul, Shanghai, Singapore, Tokyo, and Washington, D.C. For more information, visit www.semi.org.