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  • On Friday, September 29, the Department of Commerce announced a funding opportunity for smaller supply chain projects and businesses to access CHIPS for America funds. The new funding opportunity is open to projects with capital investment below $300 million involving the construction, expansion, or modernization of commercial facilities in the United States for semiconductor materials and manufacturing equipment.


MODERATOR:  So hello, everyone.  My name is [Moderator].  I’m the moderator for today’s FPC briefing.  As a reminder, this briefing is on background.  It is attributable to a senior Department of Commerce official.  And by participating in today’s call, you are agreeing to these ground rules.  

Just for your awareness, on the call today we have [Senior Commerce Department Official], and he may be joined by other experts from Commerce.  But again, the call is on background and attributable – the information is attributable to a senior Department of Commerce official only.  We will be sharing a transcript of the briefing later today with those of you who are joining, and for journalists on Zoom, please take a moment now to rename yourself in the chat window with your name, outlet, and country so we know who is here.

We’ll go ahead and begin the briefing now with some opening remarks from our briefer, and I will then open it to questions.  So I’ll hand it over to our briefer.  

SENIOR COMMERCE DEPARTMENT OFFICIAL:  Thank you, [Moderator], and thank you all for joining us today.  It’s good to connect with you again and to provide an update on implementation of the U.S. CHIPS and Science Act.  I am [Senior Commerce Department Official].  As you know, the Commerce Department is overseeing 50 billion in funding to strengthen semiconductor supply chains and advance national security.  Of that 50 billion, the CHIPS Program Office oversees 39 billion in semiconductor incentives and we will be investing across the ecosystem up and down the supply chain. 

It’s been over one year since the CHIPS Act was signed into law, and in that time we’ve focused on building a fast, efficient, and responsible organization.  We’ve created two new CHIPS offices and built an incredible team that represents decades of experience across industry and government.  We released our first Notice of Funding Opportunity for commercial manufacturing facilities and then opened it to include large supply chain and material equipment projects.  

Last week we announced a final rule on guardrails for CHIPS funds to protect the national security of the U.S. and our partners and allies, and we’re on track to launch the National Semiconductor Technology Center this fall.  We expect to be announcing major additional progress in the months ahead. 

But today we are very excited to be announcing a new funding opportunity and application for smaller semiconductor supply chain projects.  So again, these are the projects that are upstream of the fab equipment and materials suppliers.  So the funding opportunity will be open to potential applicants seeking to construct, expand, or modernize materials or equipment facilities for which the capital investment falls below $300 million.  Smaller supply chain projects are critical to our success.  They produce the equipment, chemicals, gases, and other materials that go into making chips, and while standing up commercial fabrication facilities is of course at the core of our efforts, the CHIPS and Science Act requires us to make sure fabs have access to all the materials and equipment needed to produce chips, and that’s going to include making targeted investments in the United States supply chain. 

The application process we’re outlining today is more tailored and accessible to smaller suppliers and businesses who play critical roles in supporting semiconductor manufacturing and making global semiconductor supply chains more resilient.  For projects focused on fab clusters, we are strongly encouraging applicants to apply alongside other institutions from their regions to expand economic opportunity and competitiveness and to enhance cluster dynamics.  And we believe that this will help create strong overall projects that will meet our strategic objectives.  

We have really tremendous interest in the CHIPS program overall since announcing the first funding opportunity and our application process.  We have received widespread interest from the private sector, including over 500 statements of interest and a combined 100 full and pre- applications from companies seeking to building semiconductor projects and material and equipment facilities across 42 states.  President Biden’s Investing in America agenda has already attracted more than 231 billion in new announcements of private investment in semiconductor manufacturing and supply chains, highlighting the impact that the CHIPS Act is already having.

So in conclusion, as we stood up the program, the department has really appreciated input from allies and partners.  In the past month, the Deputy Secretary of Commerce Don Graves traveled to Korea and Japan.  Under Secretary for Standards and Technology Laurie Locascio traveled to Taiwan.  And members of our international engagement team traveled to France and Spain to engage with our partners.  Semiconductor supply chains will remain global, so international coordination and collaboration is absolutely critical to our collective success.  Secretary Raimondo has made clear that our goal for these manufacturing investments is to support a healthy global semiconductor ecosystem that drives innovation and is resilient.  We look forward to further cooperating with our partners and allies to advance shared goals, promote our collective security, and strengthen global supply chains.  

And now I will pause and take any questions that you might have.  

MODERATOR:  Thank you.  And so for journalists who are joining us, please make sure to change your name in Zoom to your name, country, and outlet.  If you have a question, please use the raise hand icon, and we can call on you if you have any questions, or you can type the questions in the chat box as well.  And again, the briefing is on background attributable to a senior State – or senior Department of Commerce official.  

Okay.  Any questions, please raise your —the hand icon.  

SENIOR COMMERCE DEPARTMENT OFFICIAL:  Questions are not mandatory.  

Okay.  Well, thank you all for joining today.  Thank you, [Moderator], for hosting as always.  And appreciate as always your interest in the CHIPS program.

MODERATOR:  Yeah.  Well, thank you so much to our briefer and to those joining us today.  A reminder to everyone, the call is on background with all the information attributable to a senior Department of Commerce official.  Thank you so much.  That ends today’s briefing.

U.S. Department of State

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