Usa Commentary

[Education]

A 12-inch semiconductor wafer. (Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co., Ltd.) plants. U.S. Rep. Michael McCaul, a Texas Republican, plans to reintroduce the bipartisan bill this year with a view to securing $25 billion in federal funds and tax incentives. McCaul said in a statement he’s working with click this colleagues in the House and Senate “to prioritize getting the remaining provisions of CHIPS signed into law as quickly as possible.” News that Intel Corp., the onetime industry leader, was considering outsourcing production of some chips to TSMC under its former CEO underscored the need for a U.S. player that can fabricate at the leading edge, according to a Congressional staffer who is not authorized to speak publicly. The European Union aims to bolster the bloc’s “technological sovereignty” through an alliance armed initially with as much as 30 billion euros ($36 billion) of public-private investment to raise Europe’s share of the global chip market to 20% (without a target date) from less than 10% now. It’s also encouraging Taiwan to increase investments in the 27-nation bloc, with some success. GlobalWafers Co. — based in TSMC’s hometown of Hsinchu — just boosted its offer for Germany’s Siltronic AG to value the company at 4.4 billion euros, an acquisition that would create the world’s largest silicon wafer maker by revenue. That’s not to say Taiwan is the only player in the semiconductor supply chain. The U.S. still holds dominant positions, notably in chip design and electronic software tools; ASML Holding NV of the Netherlands has a monopoly on the machines needed to fabricate the best chips; and Japan is a key supplier of equipment, chemicals and wafers. But as the emphasis shifts to ever smaller, more powerful chips that require less energy, TSMC is increasingly in a field of its own. And it’s helped Taiwan form a comprehensive ecosystem around it: ASE Technology Holding is the world’s top chip assembler, while MediaTek has become the largest smartphone chipset vendor. Tokyo, too, is attempting to attract TSMC to set up in Japan. With 110 billion yen ($1 billion) earmarked last year for R&D investment and another 90 billion yen for 2021, some of that may go to a TSMC facility, which reports have said the company is considering setting up in Japan. “TSMC is becoming more and more dominant,” said Kazumi Nishikawa, an official working on technology issues at Japan’s Economy Ministry.

https://www.seattletimes.com/business/technology/u-s-china-tech-rivalry-underscores-worlds-dependence-on-taiwan-semiconductor-industry/

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[Finance]

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Things may be changing, however. Over the past five years, the Sri Lankan economy has gradually moved toward a more urbanized economy built around manufacturing and services sectors. Still, the economy has been confined to the rank of “ mostly unfree ” in the index, reflecting various institutional shortcomings that prevent Sri Lanka from fully realizing its economic potential. Nine of Sri Lanka’s 12 index indicators are below global average levels, particularly in the pillars of the rule of law, regulatory efficiency, and market openness. For economic freedom to expand, as Rajapaksa pointed out in his speech, the government will need to prioritize anticorruption efforts, reduce debt, and reform the judiciary to improve its independence and integrity, along with advancing policy reforms that will strengthen Sri Lanka’s economic competitiveness and independence. That reform process will be a vital ingredient for further enhancing U.S.-Sri Lanka bilateral relations. In a rapidly evolving Indo-Pacific theater, Washington and Colombo both have a strategic interest in ensuring the country’s rapid and peaceful development. After signing a U.S.-Sri Lanka Trade and Investment Framework Agreement in 2002, the two countries have held regular meetings among their respective trade representatives in a joint council. Numerous U.S. companies —including Citibank, IBM, Oracle, Microsoft, Facebook, Google, Coke, Hilton, Visa, and Mastercard—have ongoing business in Sri Lanka. U.S. private equity firms have made investments in the local banking and health care sectors. In 2018, General Electric won a $48 million contract to supply a dozen locomotives for Sri Lanka’s state-run railways. Also notable is that nearly half of Sri Lanka’s sovereign bonds are currently held by U.S.-based investors, including JPMorgan Chase and Citibank, major underwriters of the sovereign fund of Sri Lanka. Meanwhile, the U.S. Overseas Private Investment Corp. has cumulatively invested $118 million in Sri Lanka, and currently has $20 million invested in various development projects. Like the rest of the world, Sri Lanka must contend with economic uncertainty brought on by the pandemic, which is wider and more complex than past economic challenges. Without elevated and reinforced economic reforms underpinned by decisive political will, Sri Lanka’s economic livelihood will remain confined by what amounts to self-imposed economic repression. Undoubtedly, the U.S. cannot give Sri Lanka the political will needed to transform its economy in accordance with free-market principles.

https://www.heritage.org/international-economies/commentary/economic-freedom-key-enhancing-relationship-between-sri-lanka