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From: Sr K2/23/2023 6:36:09 AM
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Chip Makers Turn Cutthroat in Fight for Share of Federal Money

Semiconductor companies, which united to get the CHIPS Act approved, have set off a lobbying frenzy as they argue for more cash than their competitors.

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Chips at Intel’s plant in Chandler, Ariz. The CHIPS Act is allocating $39 billion in grants for new or expanded U.S. factories.Credit...Philip Cheung for The New York Times

By Ana Swanson and Don Clark

Ana Swanson covers trade and Washington’s turn toward industrial policy. Don Clark has reported on the chips industry for more than 30 years.

Feb. 23, 2023, 5:00 a.m. ET

WASHINGTON — In early January, a New York public relations firm sent an email warning about what it characterized as a threat to the federal government’s program to revitalize the U.S. semiconductor industry.

The message, received by The New York Times, accused Intel, the Silicon Valley chip titan, of angling to win subsidies under the CHIPS and Science Act for new factories in Ohio and Arizona that would sit empty. Intel had said in a recent earnings call that it would build out its facilities with the expensive machinery needed to make semiconductors when demand for its chips increased.

The question, the email said, was whether officials would give funding to companies that outfitted their factories from the jump “or if they will give the majority of CHIPS funding to companies like Intel.”

The firm declined to name its client. But it has done work in the past for Advanced Micro Devices, Intel’s longtime rival, which has raised similar concerns about whether federal funding should go to companies that plan to build empty shells. A spokesman for AMD said it had not reviewed the email or approved the public relations firm’s efforts to lobby for or against any specific company receiving funding.

“We fully support the CHIPS and Science Act and the efforts of the Biden administration to boost domestic semiconductor research and manufacturing,” the spokesman said.

Rival semiconductor suppliers and their customers pulled together last year as they lobbied Congress to help shore up U.S. chip manufacturing and reduce vulnerabilities in the crucial supply chain. The push led lawmakers to approve the CHIPS Act, including $52 billion in subsidies to companies and research institutions as well as $24 billion or more in tax credits — one of the biggest infusions into a single industry in decades.


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