US to open negotiations on semiconductor subsidies and taking on China's tech

Congressional aides, however, say it could still take months before a final agreement is reached

A persistent shortage of chips has disrupted the car manufacturing and electronics industries, forcing some companies to scale back production. Reuters
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Members of the US Congress will meet on Thursday to open negotiations on a compromise measure that would fund $52 billion in semiconductor manufacturing subsidies and boost US competitiveness against Chinese technology.

The senate passed its version of the bill in June 2021, while the House passed a similar bill in February.

More than 100 House and Senate lawmakers have been named to a "conference committee" that will meet for the first time on Thursday, a source told Reuters. Congressional aides said it could still take months before a final agreement is reached.

A persistent shortage of chips has disrupted the car manufacturing and electronics industries, forcing some companies to scale back production.

"It's crazy it's taken this long," Senator Mark Warner told Reuters. He said since the US began considering incentives, other countries like Germany have announced and finalised new chips incentives.

Mr Warner said some major investments in new US chip production could be jeopardised without action from Congress.

On Wednesday, the Senate made more than two dozen motions to instruct negotiators on a range of issues.

Although the motions were not binding, they convey a sense of what senators would like to see in the final bill and what could keep it from getting enough votes to become law.

The Senate bill approved in June had $52bn for chips and authorised another $200 billion to boost US scientific and technological innovation, but then stalled in the House.

The House passed a version in February that had $52bn in chips funding but significant differences on other science and technology provisions.

That measure included a number of trade proposals not in the Senate bill. The House bill would also impose additional sanctions on China.

Updated: May 09, 2022, 4:17 AM
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