Department of Commerce Convenes Virtual Forum on Supply Chain Risks in Semiconductor Manufacturing and Packaging

March 30, 2021

The U.S. Department of Commerce’s (Commerce) Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) Office of Technology Evaluation will hold a virtual forum on April 8, 2021, to discuss risks and potential risk-mitigating policies for U.S. semiconductor manufacturing and advanced packaging supply chains. Semiconductors are both the mainstay for all electronic devices (from phones and PCs to MRI machines) and integral to national security (as they power computers, sensors, and amplifiers used in our defense systems, including fighter planes and weapons systems). Because of their criticality and because more than 80% of semiconductor production is now centralized in Asia, the Biden Administration intends to take a hard look at potential national security risks in semiconductor supply chains as part of the Administration’s larger effort to enhance security of the nation’s supply chains generally.

On February 24, 2021, President Biden signed Executive Order 14017 (examined here) directing several federal agencies to take steps to “strengthen the resilience of America’s supply chains.” The Order requires the Department of Commerce to prepare a report to the President identifying semiconductor manufacturing and advanced packaging supply chain risks and presenting policy recommendations to mitigate those risks. Commerce must prepare a related report to Congress examining the microelectronics industrial base and supply chain with respect to national defense pursuant to Section 9904 of the National Defense Authorization Act of 2021. To inform its reports, Commerce’s BIS issued a Notice of Request for Public Comment on March 15, 2021. Comments responding to the notice are due April 5, 2021.

The virtual forum offers an additional avenue to provide feedback on supply chain constraints and recommend policy actions. As Wiley observed in a previous alert, industry stakeholders have an opportunity to offer policy recommendations that will improve and diversify global supply chains in order to enhance their competitive positions both domestically and abroad. Recommendations should consider trends and market dynamics driving semiconductor technology, manufacturing, and market competition.

The virtual forum will run from 2:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m. ET on April 8, 2021. Those interested in attending or giving a presentation must register by April 1, 2021. Additional information, including registration information, is available here.

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