Lawmakers look to amend CHIPS Act to cover manufacturing gear

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A bipartisan bill would add new language to the landmark CHIPS and Science Act to eliminate materials made by “foreign entities of concern” from semiconductor manufacturing in the U.S.

Leaders on the House Science, Space and Technology Committee introduced legislation on Tuesday to amend the CHIPS and Science Act to prevent American businesses from obtaining semiconductor manufacturing equipment from China and other adversarial nations. 

Introduced by Reps. Zoe Lofgren, D-Calif., and Frank Lucas, R-Okla., the Chip Equipment Quality, Usefulness, and Integrity Protection Act of 2024 builds on the Biden administration’s efforts to spur a strong domestic semiconductor manufacturing sector. Sens. Mark Kelly, D-Ariz., and Marsha Blackburn, R-Tenn., are sponsoring the legislation in the Senate.

If passed into law, the Chip EQUIP Act would ban semiconductor manufacturers funded under the CHIPS and Science Act from using a variety of specialized manufacturing equipment sourced to a “foreign entity of concern” in any U.S.-based operations.

“As the United States revitalizes its domestic semiconductor manufacturing industry, we must do everything in our power to stop China and other foreign entities of concern from compromising our microchip manufacturing facilities,” said Kelly in a press release. “The Chip EQUIP Act will strengthen our national security and ensure that America’s advanced semiconductor tools remain the world’s best.”

The legislation comes as China is looking to boost its own semiconductor industry with billions in government investments in an effort to build a self-sufficient supply chain amid global shortages and a U.S.-led effort to limit technology exports to rivals.

The CHIPS Act was passed in 2022 to spur development of the pandemic-hit semiconductor supply chain. The bill contained $280 billion in research and development funding and manufacturing support for U.S. companies to reduce reliance on foreign manufacturers. Currently, Taiwan, China and Japan dominate the chip manufacturing industry, with the U.S. having just 10% of the global market, according to the Semiconductor Industry Association.   Since the law was passed, the Biden administration has created multiple funding opportunities to support domestic fabrication plant creation and research efforts