US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken speaks during a State Department function talk at Purdue University, on September 13, 2022, in West Lafayette, Indiana.

West Lafayette (United States) (AFP) – US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken said on Tuesday that the United States must play a greater role in the global semiconductor industry for the sake of its economy and security.

Addressing students and researchers at Purdue University, home to one of America’s top engineering schools, Blinken stressed the importance of “engaging in technology diplomacy, and making sure the United States is at the table when making decisions.”

“We need to be there, and we don’t just need to be there, we need to be able to have the discussion,” he added.

The United States is leading an unprecedented effort to ship domestic semiconductor research and production, to alleviate Covid-19 supply chain issues and move away from reliance on Chinese technology.

Electronic components are essential to many global sectors, including the automotive and smartphone industries.

The Chips and Science Act, signed by US President Joe Biden last month, includes about $52 billion to boost domestic production of microchips.

“What we do here resonates around the world,” said Blinken at Purdue University, noting that technology affects all sectors, including foreign policy and defense.

Despite being far from Silicon Valley, the typical hub of technological innovation in the United States, Purdue boasts a prestigious engineering school and has several laboratories specializing in semiconductor research.

US Commerce Secretary Gina Raimundo accompanied Blinken on a tour of several research facilities at the Midwest Institute.

“The Chip Act is an investment in America,” she said, adding that the United States needed to move from “lab to fab,” that is, manufacturing.

The two top officials had just returned from Monday’s visit to Mexico, where they called on the country to join the United States in its multibillion-dollar effort to boost semiconductor manufacturing to compete with China.

The supply chain crisis due to Covid-19 has disrupted production in all sectors, including high-tech, and has also exposed the dependence of the United States and other countries on China for technological components.
Biden recently described semiconductor production as a matter of national security.