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US semiconductor imports grew 13% in value during the start of 2023, highlighting the country’s lasting reliance on foreign chip needs.
Though efforts have been made to shift supply lines closer to shore, Asia continues to be a key source of semiconductors.
Since the start of 2023, the US has imported $15.4 billion worth of chips, underscoring the scale of the challenge for its chipmaking domestication project.
Washington’s Chips and Science Act provides subsidies for international chip fabrication specialists to set up facilities on US soil, but this project will take years to become effective.
Taiwan, whose Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co (TSMC) is building an Arizona facility with two chipmaking fabs, retained its ranking as second on the list of exports by value.
The island’s role in the chip supply chain is, in reality far larger, as many of the parts exported from other Asian nations are first fabricated in Taiwan or nearby South Korea, home to memory-making leaders Samsung Electronics Co and SK Hynix Inc.
Vietnam and Thailand together now account for a fifth of US imports.
The two nations are benefiting from US firms looking for greater geographic diversity of supply to help offset the risk of China-US relations deteriorating further.
Semiconductors, essential to everything from computers and smartphones to electric vehicle batteries and large-scale data centres, are now a point of focus for US lawmakers.
Last year’s legislation to encourage TSMC and Samsung to increase their investment on American soil is just one part of its broader contest with economic rival China, whose semiconductor shipments to the United States dropped nearly 11%, according to Bloomberg.