And it might move without much discussed trade enforcement rules.
Word around the campfire is the U.S. Senate will advance legislation this week that will support the domestic manufacture of the semiconductor chips we’ve all heard so much about in the past year. It’s a good idea and a big deal, because the supply chain bottlenecks for these things has significantly slowed the production for all kinds of consumer goods, namely automobiles.
A significant increase in domestic semiconductor production, which this huge chunk of federal change will help spur, will indeed bolster U.S. economic competitiveness. But let’s be clear: More work remains to ensure that American workers have a level playing field against trade cheats.
We’ve been watching this legislation for a while, and we’ve long described it as an industrial policy bill – because in addition to funding for important industries like semiconductor production this effort included a number of sorely needed trade enforcement provisions to better confront dumped and subsidized imports. Countries like China have found ways to circumvent our existing trade tools — remember the recent fight over solar panel imports that are allegedly circumventing Chinese anti-dumping duties? — and so Congress should be using this opportunity to modernize them. But many of those provisions aren’t included in the bill scheduled for next week’s vote.
The Alliance for American Manufacturing will continue to press to get these provisions enacted, whether or not they’re in this semiconductor bill. Here’s a good summary of the provisions we support. And, regardless, we’ll be watching as that semiconductor bill comes to a vote in the Senate next week.