An audio file of this briefing is available here. 

Moderator:  Good day, everyone, from the U.S. Department of State’s Asia-Pacific Media Hub in Manila.  I’m Zia Syed, the Hub Director, and I’d like to welcome our participants dialing in for this briefing.

Today we are pleased to be joined by Keith Krach, Under Secretary of State for Economic Growth, Energy, and the Environment; Cordell Hull, Acting Under Secretary of Commerce for Industry and Security; Dr. Christopher Ford, Assistant Secretary of State for International Security and Nonproliferation; and Ian Steff, Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Global Markets.

We’ll begin today’s call with opening remarks from our speakers.  We’ll try to get to as many questions as we can during the time that we have, which is approximately 35 minutes.  Please note that due to the high number of journalists on this call, we ask that you please limit your questions to just the one question so others can participate.

Finally, as a reminder, today’s call is on the record.  And with that, I will turn it over to Under Secretary Krach.  Please go ahead.

Under Secretary Krach:  Thank you so much, and thank you all for joining us.  This period of global crisis presents an opportunity for freedom-loving nations everywhere to come together under the banner of common values such as trust, transparency, and the rule of law.  The pandemic was born of the Chinese Communist Party’s three-pronged strategy of concealment, coercion, and cooption.  Countries and companies are awakening to the danger it possesses and seeking to align with partners they can trust.

On this call, we’ll highlight several recent accomplishments of the Trump administration that together make for the 5G national security and global economic security trifecta.

The first, the historic news announced Friday, and that is that Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company announced the world’s most advanced 5-nanometer chip fabrication facility, or fab, and there – that will be coming to Arizona, with a $12 billion investment between 2021 and 2029.  The deal is a game-changer for the U.S. semiconductor industry.  TSMC is bringing its supply chain companies to the United States.  The deal will also spur cutting-edge research and development by American universities and campuses, and in particular in equipment manufacturers themselves, that will help ensure American leadership in technologies of the future.

This represents a quantum leap in 5G security for the United States and our partners.  TSMC is the world’s leading producer of the chips that power everything from smartphones to 5G base stations to fighter jets to advanced artificial intelligence.  Until now, TSMC has operated primarily out of Taiwan and China, creating a potential security vulnerability.  The United States is grateful to TSMC Chairman Mark Liu for his decision to build this cutting-edge facility in the United States, and not least of which – of all, it strengthens our  relationship with Taiwan, a vibrant democracy and a force for good in the world, and a great friend to the United States.

The second accomplishment was announced by Secretary Pompeo on April 29th at the State Department’s 5G Clean Path initiative.  It requires all 5G data entering or exiting U.S. diplomatic facilities to transit only through trusted equipment and never through equipment from untrusted vendors such as Huawei and ZTE.  It is said that 5G data entering or exiting U.S. diplomatic facilities, like all embassies, must transit through that trusted equipment.

The 5G Clean Path is an end-to-end communication path that does not use any 5G transmission control, computing or storage equipment from an untrusted vendor, including Huawei and ZTE.  The Clean Path embodies the highest standards of security against untrusted, high-risk vendors by blocking their ability to siphon sensitive information into the hands of the PRC.  Today I call on all of our allies and partners to join us in requiring a 5G clean path for your own diplomatic facilities.

The final part of the trifecta is the expansion of the Foreign Direct Product Rule to prevent Huawei from dodging U.S. exports.  The United States closed the loophole with Huawei, who was exploiting technology and threatened global economic security.  Quite simply, Huawei cannot be trusted to respect the rule of law.  It’s required by the PRC to cooperate with Beijing’s security and intelligence service, and that that really relates to that law, the National Intelligence Act, that requires any company, state-owned or otherwise, to turn over information to the PRC.  Acting Under Secretary Hull from the Department of Commerce will tell you more about this later on in the call.

Finally, in our efforts on 5G economic security, the United States recognizes that trust is the foundation of successful partnerships.  And that’s why we’re building the Economic Prosperity Network, comprised of countries, companies, and civil society organizations that are anchored in trust and that operate by a set of trust principles.  Entities that respect those values are natural partners and likely to prosper.  Those that don’t are likely unreliable as partners and pose a threat to stability.

I look forward to taking your questions, but first let me turn it over to Assistant Secretary Steff.

Assistant Secretary Steff:  Good morning, good evening, everyone.  This is Assistant Secretary Ian Steff of the Department of Commerce.  The Trump administration determined early on that maintaining and attracting an advanced semiconductor manufacturing, design, technology, and capacity to the United States is of strategic national importance.  A secure, vibrant, and competitive domestic ecosystem enables the United States to remain at the forefront of cutting-edge semiconductor fabrication and design, which is critical to the nation’s continued leadership in high-technology innovation and to the security of our domestic supply chain.

President Trump pledged to bring manufacturing jobs back to the United States.  TSMC’s investment in cutting-edge chip fabrication is another promise made, promise kept by the President.  The same pro-investment climate which attracted TSMC to announce their plans to invest in the great state of Arizona will also benefit other leading-edge companies in this industry.

The administration welcomes TSMC’s plans to invest 12 billion in Arizona in leading-edge 5-nanometer manufacturing operations, supporting over 1,600 high-paying manufacturing jobs and thousands of additional jobs in the semiconductor supply chain.  This is yet another indication that President Trump’s policy agenda has made the United States the most attractive place in the world to invest.

President Trump has made revitalizing American manufacturing a top priority from day one.  The administration’s work with TSMC to plan an investment of 12 billion in America’s semiconductor manufacturing sector is a promising development for the entire U.S. semiconductor industry.  The administration worked closely with Dr. Mark Liu, chairman of TSMC, to make this a reality.  And on behalf of Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross, we want to personally thank him for his leadership and commitment.

Domestic investment in semiconductor design, research, and development, and advanced manufacturing, is vitally important to maintain and grow America’s leadership in this sector.  President Trump’s bold and unprecedented efforts on tax cuts, regulatory reform, workforce development, and high-tech innovation, have laid the bedrock for these types of major manufacturing investments in America.

This has always been much larger than one company or one investment announcement.  The same competitive U.S. investment climate and skilled American workforce that made the United States so attractive to TSMC is readily available to other semiconductor companies.  We look forward to working with them as well.  In fact, we’ve heard from many U.S. semiconductor companies that are not only excited about the TSMC announcement, but they, too, look forward to expanding in the U.S.

Based on industry figures, less than 12 percent of global semiconductor manufacturing capacity is in the U.S.  The trend of offshoring critical manufacturing capacity in this sector must change now.  The administration has been, and continues to work with, semiconductor leaders across the spectrum, including integrated device manufacturers, [inaudible] companies, foundries, equipment suppliers, and the associations representing the industry to ensure the U.S. is competitive in maintaining and attracting their next investment.  Thank you very much.

Assistant Secretary Ford:  Hello, everyone. This is Assistant Secretary Ford.  As you have just heard, it was of course last week a really big week for the semiconductor industry in America with the announcement of that $12 billion foundry for Arizona.  But it was also – and one shouldn’t overlook this – it was also a very bad day, I think, for Huawei because what we also did last week was announce the adjustments to what is called the Foreign Direct Product Rule, as Under Secretary Krach mentioned.

And we have Acting Under Secretary Hull to walk you through the details of that particular change.  But just to summarize, in effect, with that adjustment to the Foreign Direct Product Rule, the United States is imposing licensing requirements on foreign items – on items destined for Huawei that are produced on U.S.-origin design or manufacturing tools.  And this will apply to any foundry anywhere in the world that uses such U.S. tools to support Huawei.

So that’s a very major change.  But I thought what I would do is just quickly put that move in context because, frankly speaking, trouble with Huawei has been brewing for quite some time.  This goes back to early 2019, when the U.S. Department of Justice announced an indictment under U.S. criminal law of Huawei for a number of crimes – stealing intellectual property from companies in the United States, and helping Iran evade U.S. sanctions.  A second indictment came out earlier this year.

So we have a demonstrable record of Huawei’s activity being under legal scrutiny for – well, not to put too fine a point on it, for theft.  Clearly on the basis of this background, we did not think it was – it was appropriate for U.S. companies to continue business as usual with Huawei.  And so as a result of that, we put – we took a – we’ve – and what we have learned about how Huawei works and the things to which it contributes, we put a number of restrictions on the company, beginning with placing it on the Commerce Department’s Entity List in 2019.  We’ve also made some adjustments to other aspects of U.S. export control rules.

But the big one came last week when we announced this change to the Foreign Direct Product Rule.  But I want to stress this is not just because of Huawei’s intellectual property theft.  We have considerable concerns with Huawei also on a number of other grounds – for example, the role that it plays in the PRC in supporting the Chinese Communist Party’s technologically facilitated, authoritarian police state.  Huawei’s technology is integral to efforts to create what the Communist Party calls “social order” in China, but which everyone else in the rest of the world understands is authoritarian repression.  It is not separable from that work.  It has contributed to abuses of human rights in Xinjiang and elsewhere.  And that is another ground for concern with the company.

And I should say also, finally, that our grounds for concern with Huawei stem most fundamentally from the structural relationship that it has with the Chinese Government and security services, and the degree to which, as Huawei moves out into the world and acquires for itself, as it hopes to do, commanding positions in other countries’ critical infrastructures, it is a – that creates a very great danger of manipulation, control, theft of information, and other abuses by virtue of the fact, as Under Secretary Krach alluded to, that, in effect, the Communist Party in Beijing can tell Huawei to do whatever it wants and use Huawei as a tool of strategic influence.

So for all of these reasons, we did not think it was possible to have business as usual with Huawei, and we have taken steps to ensure that there is now visibility into and the opportunity to check the provision of any semiconductors, for example, from Huawei that are produced on U.S.-origin design tools, for example.  But for those details, I will turn you over to Under Secretary – or to Acting Under Secretary Hull.

Acting Under Secretary Hull:  Thank you.  This is Cordell Hull, Acting Under Secretary for Industry and Security.  And as outlined by my State Department colleagues, this is the Trump administration’s latest efforts to effectuate the purpose of the entity listing for Huawei, which happened in May of last year.  Assistant Secretary Ford did a good job outlining a number of concerns the U.S. Government has with Huawei.  And as an effort to counter that activity, the Department announced last Friday that it is further restricting Huawei’s access to U.S.-origin technology, while assuring other companies are not adversely affected.

So the rule captures two primary – two primary lines of effort.  The first, it captures what I’ll call the design piece, which is foreign semiconductor designs produced or developed by Huawei or any of its affiliates on the Entity List, including HiSilicon, using U.S. software or technology when such designs are destined for Huawei.  The second piece, which I’ll call the manufacturing piece, targets foreign semiconductors produced abroad in foundries using U.S. equipment based on any Huawei design where the product is then destined for Huawei.

What that does is prevents Huawei from using U.S. equipment against U.S. interests.  The effect of the amendment to the rule is now that these transactions – the two pieces, the manufacturing piece and the design piece – are now subject to a license from the Department of Commerce.  Each license at the Department of Commerce is judged on its own merits.

In an effort to minimize adverse economic impacts of the rule, the Department has put in a 120-day grace period.  What that means is semiconductors done in the manufacturing process as of last Friday, the effective date of the rule, will not need a license if manufactured and transferred to Huawei within 120 days.  The department also put in a 60-day comment period and will encourage affected stakeholders to provide the Department with comments on the rule’s effect.

The U.S. Government’s calibration of the rule was designed to take a narrow approach against Huawei while not affecting other companies in an adverse way.  The rule’s focus, as said earlier on this call, is to ensure all foundries, no matter where located in the world, are on equal footing.  This action, as with all actions with respect to Huawei, puts America first and effectuates the purpose of our entity listing.  And with that, I will hand it back.

Moderator:  Thank you very much.  We’ll now begin the question and answer portion of today’s call.  Our first question will go to Philip Heijmans from Bloomberg News in Singapore.  Philip, please go ahead.

Question:  Thanks a lot, Zia.  Thank you all for having us.  Secretary Pompeo has mentioned that the U.S. is working with countries, including Vietnam, on restructuring supply chains in Asia.  So, I would be very curious to know exactly, or precisely, rather, what that entails, if anybody is in a position to answer that.  Thank you.

Under Secretary Krach:  Yes.  This is Under Secretary of State Krach.  We have a flourishing partnership with Vietnam.  It spans political, economic, security, and people-to-people ties.  The U.S. supports a strong, prosperous, and independent Vietnam that contributes to international security and engages in fair and reciprocal trade and respects human rights and rule of law.  And I believe the relationship between our nations will only get stronger.  I’ve spent 30 years of my career in Silicon Valley, and we have many people who originate, who come, from the country of Vietnam.  And these are some of the great leaders, great technologists, in Silicon Valley.  So I think it will – I think it will strengthen that relationship.

Moderator:  Okay.  Next we will go to Melo Acuna from Asia Pacific Daily in the Philippines.  Melo, please go ahead.

Question:  Thank you very much.  This may be a bit parochial, but one of my country’s dollar earners is the semiconductor industry.  With COVID-19 bringing economies to a standstill, and the conflict and lack of trust between the United States and China, what will happen to our business and the thousands who work in our semiconductor plants?  Thank you.

Under Secretary Krach:  I think this – this is Under Secretary Krach again.  I think this will create a great opportunity because we know a number of nations are pulling supply chains out of China, and I think it’s being turbocharged by the pandemic.  So, I think it bodes well for the country of the Philippines.  And they are also a great ally and great trusted partner with the United States.  So, I think we’re looking forward to seeing that relationship get stronger as well.

Moderator:  Next if we could please go to Nhat-Dang Du from Tuoi Tre news in Vietnam.  Nhat-Dang Du, please go ahead.

Question:  Yes, it’s me.  Good morning.  I am Dang of Tuoi Tre newspaper of Vietnam.  I have a question for Under Secretary Krach.  According to an Indian news site The Policy Times, after a recent phone call with Indonesian President Joko Widodo, President Trump decided to reallocate around 27 U.S. factories from China to Indonesia.  Would you please confirm the news and give us further details?  Thank you very much.

Under Secretary Krach:  Yes.  I have not – I have not seen that report, but that does not surprise me.  Indonesia’s a vital partner in the Indo-Pacific region, and the U.S.-Indonesia relationship has taken on increasing importance.  And I trust our partnership will continue to grow in many strategic areas.  And it was right before the end of this year, I had a chance to spend time with a number of the ministers of Indonesia, and we see a tremendous opportunity there.  And in particular, we’re working with the Indonesian Government and our various financing arms to make a lot of investment in the country of Indonesia.  I also know the United States private sector, particularly the innovation sector, sees a lot of opportunities in Indonesia.

Moderator:  Thank you very much.  Next if we could go to Alexandra Alper from Reuters in Washington, D.C.  Alex, can you please go ahead?

Question:  Yes.  Thank you guys so much for doing this call.  I just wanted to address the FDPR rule that you all were discussing, and some of the loopholes that folks have pointed out.  For example, the possibility that some of the suppliers – should the chip designed with – by Huawei and made overseas with U.S. technology but shipped directly to one of Huawei’s customers.  Are there any plans to, I guess, tweak or adjust the rule to account for that?  And also, if there’s any clarification on this issue of what it means to have knowledge of shipping it to Huawei.  I mean, obviously these supply chains are quite long.  So, I guess what are kind of the due diligence steps that a company would have to take in order to show that it really tried to have knowledge of that?  Thank you.

Acting Under Secretary Hull:  This is – yes, go ahead.

Under Secretary Krach:  I was going to say, let me turn that over to Acting Under Secretary Hull or Dr. Ford.

Acting Under Secretary Hull:  This is Cordell Hull.  I’ll take a swing at it first and then turn it over to Assistant Secretary Ford.  I’ll take the second piece first.  With respect to the knowledge, that is outlined in our regulations and includes conscious disregard of facts.  And BIS’ enforcement arm will be on the lookout for entities doing just that.

With respect to what’s called a loophole, I would argue it’s careful drafting and calibrated in a way to not adversely impact other companies, companies other than Huawei.  What I will say is as with any control, the Department is constantly assessing its effectiveness.  And with respect to Huawei, the Department will continue to assess its effectiveness in effectuating the purpose of the entity listing.  But our enforcement – our enforcement arm will be looking at any effort to circumvent the rules.  So, with that, I’ll hand it over to Assistant Secretary Ford for any remarks he may have.

Assistant Secretary Ford:  This is – this is Assistant Secretary Ford.  I don’t have much to add except also just to point out that one of the things that was changed to the rule, what it’ll also do is give us a great deal more information upon which to base export control decisions as we move forward and try to find the right – the right answer to these challenges, including by adapting, if we need to, if Huawei tries to work around our rules in some way.  Because there has not been a licensing requirement before, there isn’t a lot of data in hand about some of this information, about some of what has been, or is currently moving, to Huawei.

And what this licensing requirement will do, in addition to giving us the opportunity to check flows, if we need to, it will also give us a lot more informational basis upon which to make any further changes that are needed.  So, we anticipate to be, as Cordell indicated, carefully watching this as time goes forward, and will certainly make any changes that we think are necessary.  But. we will also have a lot more data on the basis of which to make those decisions, and we hope and anticipate that that will be – that we’ll be able effectively to respond, if that’s needed.

Moderator:  Thank you very much.  Excellent.  Next if we could please go to Sangho Song from Yonhap News in Seoul, South Korea.  Sangho, please go ahead.

Question:  From South Korea, and I’m – hello.  Thank you very much for your – this presentation.  My question goes to Under Secretary of State Krach.  You talked about the Economic Prosperity Network running on what you call the trust principle.  And my question is:  What is the specific role the United States has in mind for South Korea’s role and participation in the process of creating the Economic Prosperity Network, and any discussion, either official or unofficial, are taking place between Seoul and Washington governments regarding the building of the Economic Prosperity Network, or no discussions at all yet with the South Korean counterpart?

And then I also have a question regarding the growing concern that escalation of tensions between the U.S. and China, following the U.S. export control measure, could start putting other countries in a very tricky diplomatic position, vis-à-vis the delicate balancing act.  Could you comment on that?

Under Secretary Krach:  Sure, and thank you for that question.  The Republic of Korea is a great ally for the United States.  Our nations have deep, comprehensive ties.  Our people share common values which make for a trusted partnership.  And right before the end of the year, I’ve had two great dialogues with – over in Seoul, and one of those was the Senior Economic Dialogue, which is the highest-ranking U.S.-to-Korea dialogue other than the military dialogue, and we talked about the Economic Prosperity Network initiative to unite countries like the United States and the Republic of Korea.  And if you look at the key tenet of our Global Economic Security Strategy, it is to expand and diversify supply chains that protect people in the free world.

And the Economic Prosperity Network is a number of countries – to unite countries, companies, and civil society around the world based on the foundation of trust, and they will operate under the same set of values in critical industries.  So, if you look at it, it’s a network for all areas of economic collaboration that work under a set of trust principles, and those would be commerce, trade, digital, energy, infrastructure, education, research, health care is driving it, money flows.  And those operating principles are things that we would call democratic values:  transparency, integrity, accountability, respect for rule of law, respect for property of all kinds, respect for sovereignty of nations, respect for the planet, respect for labor rights, and I think that that’s key in terms of what’s going on in this pandemic.  And I think one of the things that we’ve seen is that, particularly along that dimension of health care, that’s really been accelerated and driven.  So, I think we see great opportunity with the country of [South] Korea.

And one of the other things, too, when I was over in Seoul, I really applauded the leadership that Korea showed in terms of no longer being at developing nation status in the WTO, and I think that sets a real role model for China.

Assistant Secretary Ford:  This is Assistant Secretary Ford, if I could just add a footnote to that.  And I would say that as countries continue to wake up to the threat presented by Chinese technology firms such as Huawei in terms of potential information theft, the facilitation of human rights abuses, and potential for strategic and political manipulation, we anticipate that they will – the recipients and technology possessors and those that are building infrastructures around the world will increasingly look to genuinely trusted suppliers outside the ecosystem of these Chinese technology firms, and that ought to to create opportunities for those kinds of trusted suppliers around the world, including, of course, for Samsung in the Republic of Korea.

So, we think that over time, in fact, as everyone awakens to these Huawei-type challenges, that there will actually be a lot of opportunity for trusted suppliers elsewhere in the world to thrive and prosper.

Moderator:  Thank you very much.  We’re going to try to get to two more questions before we’re going to have to wrap it up, unfortunately.  Next, if we could to Li Yanjie from China Business Journal [in China].  Li, can you please go ahead?

Question:  Hi.  Can —

Moderator:  Yes, please, go ahead.

Question:  Hi.  Thank you.  Some American and international companies told me that they’ll be most affected by the new Foreign Direct Product Rule, and they’d like to sell products to Huawei.  So I’m wondering:  Do you talk with those companies as [inaudible] affected?  And my second question is that what support will the TSMC get from the U.S. government and for [inaudible] on sending products to Huawei?  Thank you.

Moderator:  Sorry, I had trouble understanding that and perhaps our speakers did as well.  Do you mind quickly just repeating, particularly the first question, I didn’t catch that at all.  Li, are you still there?

Question:  The first?

Moderator:  Yes.  Can you just repeat that first – the question part of the first question, please?

Question:  Okay.  Some American and international companies told me that they will be most affected by the new foreign rule, and they would like to sell products to Huawei.  So I’m wondering:  Do you, the government officials, talk with those companies [inaudible] be affected?

Moderator:  Okay, I had trouble understanding, but if any of our speakers was able to understand that, please respond.

Assistant Secretary Ford:  This is —

Moderator:  Yes, please, go ahead.

Assistant Secretary Ford:  This is Assistant Secretary Ford.  I would say it will certainly – it will certainly continue to be the case that really anyone, I suppose, can sell products to Huawei if they are not designed on U.S.-origin design tools, for example.  That’s not affected by the bill that we just announced.  I think the key thing to remember there is that that will – if one wants to be working in the area of the very best chips, the chips that have the most computing power packed into the smallest space, it is necessary to use U.S.-designed tools right now because we have a commanding comparative advantage in that area.

So, while Huawei – business with Huawei will be able to continue, this will be a very great challenge for the company in terms of moving into those kinds of top end and next-generation chip sets and so forth.  So, while there’ll be lots of opportunity to continue to sell lesser quality chips to Huawei, this will be an additional challenge for the really good stuff.  And so there will be some opportunities to support Huawei I’m sure, but they will be increasingly in the less and less interesting areas of technological development.

Under Secretary Krach:  This is Under Secretary Krach.  I think I – I think she also asked how will this affects American companies.  So, if you look at the equipment manufacturers that Dr. Ford referred to and the software design tool companies, it will cut back on their sales, but they – but I can tell you what, because we’ve talked with them and they totally understand.  And I think, what they see is the thing that people are seeing all over the world, and that is that this pandemic was caused clearly – we need the world to understand the Communist Party’s three-pronged strategy of concealment, coercion, and cooption.  And I think that’s really resulted in a three-way perfect storm: the pandemic as a result of concealment of the virus that should have been contained; and then the Communist Party’s so-called face-mask diplomacy campaign is a tool for coercion and seduction to get concessions they want, and many companies and countries are waking up to this aggressive tactic and they don’t like it.  And you’ve seen many countries cancel contracts, and I think the damage to China’s reputation is irreparable.  And then, the revelation that China has systematically coopted economies by entangling supply chains gives everybody a sense of urgency.

And in the United States, President Trump, I think he’s woken up the citizens that China doesn’t play by the rules.  And in the U.S. we’re all free-traders, but when you have somebody who comes to the market who doesn’t play by the rules, the market is no longer free.  And American companies, and I think a lot of other countries’ companies are learning, that the labor logistics and savings that originally drew them to China are being outweighed by the political and economic risks of doing business there.  And I think the pandemic has led many foreign nations, international nations around the world, and businesses, to reassess those economic relationships.

So the trust, dependability, high quality, and transparency that America and American businesses bring to the table have never been more valuable.

Moderator:  Thank you.  We’ll take one last question.  And I appreciate you being on hold for this long, Jonathan Weber from Reuters in Singapore.  Jonathan, please go ahead.

Question:  Yes, hi.  Thanks.  In terms of the direct product rule, one thing that’s unclear is whether this rule would apply to, say, a company like Hynix in South Korea selling a memory chip to Huawei.  Would that be banned under this rule?

Acting Under Secretary Hull:  This is Cordell Hull.  And no, the rule only applies to Huawei-designed chips going back to Huawei, so it would not capture the Hynix example you just gave.

Moderator:  All right.  Excellent, thank you.  So we’re going to wrap up the call here.  But first let me pass it back to Under Secretary Krach and our speakers for any closing remarks.

Under Secretary Krach:  Yes, just to do a real quick sum-up, and I know we’re over our allotted time.  Each of these initiatives form a three-legged stool of trust, security, and resilience for the global economic supply chain.  I also think for secure communications around the world.  And each reinforces the others and greatly augments global economic security for all nations.  And I think the last five months can leave no doubt in the minds of any freedom-loving nation that the PRC is untrustworthy, and only by maintaining solidarity with our trusted partners, can we guarantee a secure future for the United States, our companies, and I think most importantly, our friends and our allies.  So, with that, thanks, everyone, for joining us this morning.

Assistant Secretary Steff:  Yes, this is Assistant Secretary of Commerce Ian Steff.  I just wanted to conclude by stating that the administration has pledged to continue to maintain the strong investment climate the President has championed that enabled the game-changing recent TSMC announcement just as we have for other semiconductor companies that have expressed interest in expanding in the U.S.  We will continue to support sound economic policy that benefits the entire industry, while ensuring the United States is on a competitive footing with other countries looking to attract leading-edge semiconductor investments.

Essentially, we have chosen to compete.  We look forward to continuing to work with the entire industry on how to further this mission and grow their current manufacturing and design footprint in the United States.  Thank you very much.

Moderator:  Okay, thank you very much.  That concludes today’s call.  I want to thank Under Secretary Krach, Acting Under Secretary Hull, Assistant Secretary Ford, and Assistant Secretary Steff.  And I also thank all of our journalists on the lines for participating.  Please stay on the line for information regarding access to an audio recording of the call.  Also, please be aware that a transcript of the call will be posted to our social media platforms and sent out to all of you within a day.  If you have any questions about today’s call, you may contact the Asia-Pacific Media Hub at AsiaPacMedia@state.gov. Thank you.

U.S. Department of State

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