Semiconductor Associations Form New Group to Deal with Supply Chain Issues

The Chinese Semiconductor Industry Association (CSIA) announced it will form a new, bilateral working group with its Washington-based counterpart, the Semiconductor Industry Association (SIA). The partnership will enable the organizations to regularly exchange information about trade policies, supply chain safety, and encryption technology.

Stewart Randall, head of electronics for Interlink, indicated the collaboration would be hugely important to the worldwide chip industry's future. He further said a lack of global electronic components standards and interoperability would be "disastrous."

As of this writing, SIA has not publicly confirmed its participation in the joint venture.

Details on the US-China Semiconductor Working Group

According to the CSIA, the bilateral working group will comprise 10 chip sector experts appointed by each organization. The panel will meet every six months to engage in dialogue online and in-person once the pandemic has been fully contained. The consortium will discuss topics related to their field, such as export control updates and recent technological developments.

It will also tackle concerns from chipmakers belonging to each association regarding intellectual property and fair competition practices. As part of its set purpose, the new group will draft proposals that will benefit providers on both sides of the Pacific Ocean.

The CSIA and SIA hope to foster a greater level of international trust and understanding. Both organizations also want to establish a more robust global semiconductor supply chain.

The Game-Changing Impact of a CSIA/SIA Partnership

Until the CSIA/SIA working group begins meeting, its impact cannot be gauged. However, its existence suggests a paradigm shift is coming to the worldwide chip industry.

For the last several years, the United States and China have been engaged in a trade war. As part of the conflict, Washington and Beijing have issued a series of tariffs and retaliatory tariffs that make moving electronic components between the two countries exceedingly costly. In addition, the U.S. government enacted new trade restrictions to prevent the Chinese military from accessing advanced American semiconductor technology.

Consequently, the global chip production and logistics network has become increasingly stratified.

Component manufacturers have responded to the trade war by moving their production capacity to neutral nations like Vietnam and India. Simultaneously, regions like South Korea and the European Union have launched sweeping initiatives to enhance their semiconductor independence. Those developments and escalating tensions between the U.S. and China have threatened to create a bifurcated technology sphere.

However, the CSIA/SIA partnership can bridge those divides and create a unified digitalization roadmap for the world.

If nothing else, the partnership between the two organizations can bring representatives from industry-leading chipmakers together. The SIA counts AMD, Arm, Intel, Micron Technology, Nvidia, NXP Semiconductors, Qualcomm, Samsung, and TSMC as members. Similarly, the CSIA is led by the chairman of SMIC, China’s largest contract pure-play foundry, and its ranks include executives from Huawei and Tsinghua Holdings.

That means the working group could have the influence to hammer out standards and protocols that will enable future innovations to function seamlessly worldwide. Since global technological, medical, and financial development requires a shared framework, the panel’s creation is a very positive occurrence.

After all, open lines of communication are the foundation of international diplomacy and civilization.

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