money is not free
The most controversial Law in recent times, the so-called CHIPS for America, already has its main points to deal with for any company in the world of semiconductors that wants public money to grow. These conditions are really extensive, but they set a series of points to be dealt with that, in turn, have minor implications that we will see. Take a seat because it will be long and interesting in equal parts.
The first thing we must be clear about is that those 53 billion dollars will not be free, money is never free as such. For this reason and knowing that chips are the new oil that wants to control the world, the Americans have launched an unprecedented escalation to dominate the next 50 years.
The CHIPS Act, money and conditions, a somewhat strict legislative framework
The Secretary of Commerce and already known in these parts, Gina M. Raimondo made it clear from the beginning in the presentation what the Biden administration wants to achieve:
The Science and CHIPS Act presents a historic opportunity to unleash the next generation of American innovation, protect our national security, and preserve our global economic competitiveness.
When we’re done rolling out CHIPS for America, we’ll be the world’s leading destination where new, cutting-edge chip architectures can be invented in our research labs, designed for every end-use application, manufactured at scale, and packaged with the latest technologies. . Throughout our work, we are committed to protecting taxpayer dollars, strengthening America’s workforce, and giving America’s businesses a platform to do what they do best: innovate, scale and compete.
A very “powerful” and full-fledged declaration of intent, but so that this does not remain just in words, the foundation of said Law will be governed, among many others, by the following key aspects
Create ecosystems and be self-sufficient
Catalyze Private Investment: CHIPS for America aims to stimulate private capital and investment, not replace it. CHIPS for America seeks to attract significant private capital and create viable projects at scale that advance the US economy and national security. The Department also encourages applicants to create ecosystems of suppliers, customers and job training organizations that will make the investments self-sufficient.
No share buybacks, no dividends
Protecting Taxpayer Dollars: CHIPS for America will be a good steward of taxpayer dollars, using security measures to ensure that companies that receive funds honor their end of the bargain. The Department will carry out a due exhaustive diligence to ensure that it provides the minimum amount necessary to incentivize investment.
In addition, the Department will evaluate applications based on the extent of the applicant’s commitments to refrain from share repurchasesand will require recipients of more than $150 million in direct funding to share with the US government a portion of cash flows or returns that exceed applicant projections above a set threshold.
Awards will be disbursed over time and will be tied to applicants who meet agreed commitments and milestones.
Professionals, child care and benefits
Building a Skilled and Diverse Workforce: Recruiting, training and retaining a large, skilled and diverse workforce will be critical to strengthening the US semiconductor ecosystem.
Businesses seeking CHIPS financing will need to submit Development plans information for the workers who will operate your facilities and the workers who will build them, including plans to comply with the Good Works Principles of the Department of Commerce and the Department of Labor.
Businesses requesting more than $150 million in direct funding must also submit plans to provide their facilities and construction workers access to affordable, accessible, reliable, and high-quality child care. In addition, applicants are strongly encouraged to use project labor agreements for construction projects.
A robust supply chain
Engagement with U.S. Partners and Allies: The Department will coordinate with international allies and partners to support a healthy global semiconductor ecosystem that drives innovation and is resistant to a variety of interruptionsfrom threats of cyber security to natural disasters and pandemics.
This includes coordinating government incentive programs, building resilient cross-border semiconductor supply chains, promoting knowledge sharing and collaboration on future technologies, and implementing safeguards to protect national security.
Future investments, environmental responsibility
Driving Economic Opportunity and Inclusive Economic Growth: CHIPS for America is committed to building strong communities that share in the prosperity of the semiconductor industry.
The Department will review whether applicants are committed to making future investments in the US semiconductor industry, supporting research and development programs, and creating opportunities for small, veteran-owned businesses, minority-owned and women-owned. Applicants will also be evaluated based on whether they demonstrate environmental responsibility and invest in their community.
CHIPS for America Act: Other things to consider
Apart from those mentioned, there are more aspects attached and that are left in the background. One of the main problems is the talent and retention of personnel on American soil. There are no qualified professionals and therefore, the Americans plan to give all the facilities and reward companies that support their workers and their families.
Changing the third we have the ban expansion in China for at least 10 years. This includes a refusal to enter into research agreements, joint ventures, technology exchanges, licences, and all in a regulatory framework that will be individually assessed by the Biden administration.
We continue with what has to do with the army, something little commented on by the Americans, but we knew it would be present. The government wants to have priority access to chips and reduce dependence on Asia to zero in the long term, specifically for the decade of 2030, that is, 7 years ahead. Hence, in part, the two companies and clusters that they are going to create and which we talked about last week.
There is a lot more cloth to cut, since the requirements are more extensive, but we have considered these the most important of the CHIPS for America Act. We will see in a decade if what is presented today really works.