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Chip Industry on Edge as Trade War Heats Up

Dylan McGrath – EE Times

Semiconductor industry analysts and market watchers expressed concern after U.S. President Donald Trump announced that the U.S. would impose 25% tariffs on $50 billion of Chinese goods, including many products in the semiconductor supply chain.

U.S. chip firms and their suppliers largely oppose the tariffs and the escalation of a trade war between the world’s two largest economies. The ultimate result, many fear, will be decreased sales of electronic products and components.

The Trump administration has argued that the tariffs are necessary to close a $375 billion trade deficit with China and counter Chinese policies deemed harmful to U.S. industry, including required technology transfers and lax intellectual-property protection.

The SEMI trade group, which represents semiconductor equipment suppliers, EDA vendors, and companies involved in the electronics supply chain, has voiced support for the administration’s efforts to protect intellectual property, but said that it does not believe the tariffs will do anything to address U.S. concerns over China’s trade practices.

In a blog posted on the SEMI website on Friday (June 15), Jay Chittooran, a public policy manager at SEMI, said that about 80% of the semiconductor products that appeared on the list of products that was first proposed for tariffs by the U.S. Trade Representative back in April remain on the list, including products such as test inspection equipment and spare parts that enter the U.S. from China.

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