Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo called for investment to promote American manufacturing and supply chain resiliency.
Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo outlined President Biden’s fiscal year 2024 budget request for her agency before the Senate Appropriations Committee Wednesday, spotlighting the importance of strengthening American manufacturing.
Commerce has made “substantial progress on some of our nation’s most pressing economic and national security priorities, including those related to our supply chains, manufacturing, innovation, and workforce,” Raimondo said, pointing to historic investments such as the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and the CHIPS and Science Act.
Since President Biden took office, companies have announced more than $700 billion in private investment in manufacturing, utilities and energy from more than 200 companies in all 50 states and created 800,000 factory jobs. The U.S. semiconductor industry alone has seen more than $210 billion in private investments and 44,000 new jobs, according to the Semiconductor Industry Association.
The CHIPS and Science Act, which passed in August 2022, allocated $39 billion in semiconductor manufacturing incentives out of the entire $52.7 billion CHIPS funding package. In February, the Commerce Department officially opened the application process for the CHIPS Act’s first funding opportunities and received more than 200 statements of interest, Raimondo said.
Just this Wednesday, German engineering and technology company Bosch Group announced its acquisition of computer chip manufacturer TSI Semiconductors in Roseville, Calif., where Bosch will invest $1.5 billion to start production of silicon carbide chips used in electric vehicles. The company said that the “full scope of the planned investment will be heavily dependent on federal funding opportunities available via the CHIPS and Science Act,” evidencing the importance of Commerce’s sustained support of its CHIPS initiatives.
This rocketing development in America’s semiconductor industry has sparked ire among some U.S. allies — something Raimondo was asked to respond to during her testimony. As she mentioned in her remarks, South Korean President Yook Suk-yeol is visiting Washington this week to discuss semiconductors among other issues. Raimondo said:
“I sent a team recently to Japan and to Korea to work with them, and I will be going to Europe in a few weeks, carrying the message of we need to work together. I can report to you that as a result of our increased reaching out to them, we’re starting to have much better results.
“In fact, as I said before the Korean delegation is in town today. We’ve had extensive conversations with them, with Samsung, with their companies — how to work together. Similarly, with Europe, look, it is something we have to work on, but here’s the reality: if we all invest — Korea has the K Chip, EU has the EU Chips Act — if we all invest in the same area and have a glut of one kind of chips and not enough of another, we compete against each other. I think everyone’s starting to realize, you know, we all lose. So I actually feel quite a bit more optimistic as I sit here with you today than even three months ago because we have been doing a huge amount of engagement — the White House, my office et cetera — and I think we’re making headway.”
As much growth as the Biden administration’s industrial policy has stimulated, the work is far from over, Raimondo asserted.
“Our goal is to make sure that America is positioned to compete, and that we will be able to continue our leadership into the 21st century. The reality is that global competition is fierce and getting more fierce, and so we can’t take our foot off the gas,” she said.
“First, we need to expand and improve manufacturing capacity and strength in the United States and all the innovation that flows from it,” Raimondo continued. Key to that aim is Commerce’s investment in the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) and its Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP), which helps manufacturers develop new products and customers and diversify markets through public-private partnerships.
Commerce’s 2024 budget calls for $1.6 billion for investment in NIST with the goal of enabling NIST’s 51 MEP centers to expand coordination with private sector manufacturers and narrow gaps in supply chains.
The budget also allocates funding within its NIST investment to expand the agency’s role in Manufacturing USA, which currently operates 16 institutes to lead research and development on critical manufacturing technologies. Commerce’s 2023 budget will be used to launch an additional Manufacturing USA institute, and the department plans to finance $60 million in new competitive awards to Manufacturing USA institutes with its 2024 funding.
“The president’s budget is asking for smart, targeted investments that bolster our economic security and our national security, will make our supply chains more resilient, promote American manufacturing and innovation and help more workers and businesses compete and win in the 21st century, ” Raimondo said.