Commerce Secretary Warns U.S. Could Lose Chip Factory

Last week U.S. Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo said that she believes GlobalWafers will follow through on its plan to build a silicon wafer factory in Texas, on the condition that Congress passes funding for the CHIPS for America Act by the time the August recess begins.

“This investment that they’re making is contingent upon Congress passing the CHIPS Act [funding]. The CEO told me that herself and they reiterated that today,” said Raimondo in an interview with CNBC’s Jim Cramer. “It has to be done before they go to August recess. I don’t know how to say it any more plainly. This deal … will go away, I think, if Congress doesn’t act,” she added.

GlobalWafers, a Taiwan-based semiconductor silicon wafer firm, said Monday that it plans to build a facility to produce the component in Sherman, Texas. The facility could create up to 1,500 jobs and produce 1.2 million wafers a month, according to the U.S. Commerce Department.

The CHIPS (Creating Helpful Incentives to Produce Semiconductors) for America Act incentivizes investment in the U.S. semiconductor industry via government funding and tax breaks. While it was passed in January 2021, a final funding package has not been approved by Congress.

Supply chain issues have kept a variety of industries, most notably the automotive industry, from being able to secure semiconductor chips. Meanwhile, demand for products using these key components continues to soar. 

“Semiconductor demand is going to double in the next 10 or 11 years. It takes a couple of years to get a new facility up and running, which means these companies have to make their decisions now. GlobalWafer has made the announcement today because they need to have the cement in the ground at the facility in November,” Raimondo said.