The European Commission wants to establish a partnership with the chip industry. It is intended that both industry and academia should be part of this. The initiative is part of a larger industrial plan.
What exactly the cooperation will look like is not yet clear. The committee hopes to clarify this in the coming weeks. At the end of March, the United States announced that it would reserve some 50 billion dollars for the US chip industry.
Too dependent on China
The coronacrisis has made it clear that, in a number of sectors, we are too dependent on critical products and raw materials from outside the EU, the committee considers. It has identified that the EU is too dependent on companies outside the EU for 137 strategic and essential products. More than half of these products come from China.
For example, it concerns mouth masks but also computer chips. For example, the Dutch car factory VDL NedCar is shutting down production for the second time in a short time this week. The company is also affected by the global shortage of chips. The committee wants to put an end to this situation quickly. Which companies will participate in the chip liance is not yet known.
Conversations in the industry
In recent days, Commissioner Thierry Breton (Internal Market) has held talks with large parties in the chip industry, presumably to ensure support. For example, around the weekend there was contact with TSMC, one of the main manufacturers of chips, and Intel. Yesterday, among other things, there was a conversation with the Dutch chip machine maker ASML on the program.
A spokesman for ASML just wanted to say that top man Peter Wennink had a “constructive” conversation with the European Commissioner about plans that the committee has. According to news agency Reuters, there has also been talks with the Dutch chipmaker NXP. Presumably, that conversation went along the same lines.
Previously, discussions Diecceit conducted with insiders in the industry showed that there is doubt about Europes ambitions. Ultimately, the goal is even to produce 2 nanometers chips in 2030. “To build a factory for 2 nanometer chips is like saying you want to build a rocket to send people to the moon,” Wennink said last week in conversation with Politico Europe.
The news site has also managed to deliver a letter that the machine maker sent to Breton in early January with the same message. “Europe does not have to take care of the whole chain of chips. It should focus on the areas where a head position has already been obtained.”
The plans that are now being made are focused on the medium term. While the industry is currently struggling with large deficits. Chip manufacturers TSMC and Intel already indicated earlier to take into account issues that can last until next year. Announced mega-investments for the coming years, totalling $120 billion, will only have an effect over a long period of time.