- The Washington Times - Monday, May 18, 2020

The decision by one of the world’s largest manufacturers of semiconductors to build a $12 billion plant in Arizona is a “game-changer” for the U.S. high-tech industry and for national security in the competition against China, a top Trump official said Monday.

Undersecretary of State Keith Krach, a former CEO of DocuSign, called the move by the Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. “absolutely historic.”

“That will bolster American national security and economic prosperity,” Mr. Krach told conservative radio host Hugh Hewitt. “The semiconductors they make, these chips, are the most sophisticated in the world. And it powers everything from AI to 5G to F-35s. So this investment’s going to create hundreds of thousands of jobs [for] skilled Americans.”

TSMC announced Friday that it will build its new Arizona plant with a goal of producing revolutionary 5-nanometer transistors by 2024.

The announcement coincided with the Trump administration’s move to block sales of global chip supplies to blacklisted Chinese telecomm giant Huawei Technologies. A new rule expands U.S. authority to halt exports to the second-largest maker of smartphones in the world.

Mr. Krach said the U.S. has achieved a “5G trifecta”: the move by TSMC, the restrictions against Huawei and the State Department’s new requirement of a “clean path” for all 5G diplomatic network communications denying access from IT vendors who use products from Huawei or other Chinese firms such as ZTE.

“Together, these three represent a quantum leap in terms of our national security and our economic security,” he said. “The United States is closing the loopholes to prevent Huawei from exploiting U.S. technology and threatening our national security.”

The administration has raised concern about U.S. chipmakers relying too much on Asia. The State and Commerce departments were involved in the move by TSMC to build the Arizona facility.

“It’s part of what State Department’s working on, along with key U.S. government partners, in terms of striving to secure and diversify American supply chain,” Mr. Krach said.

• Dave Boyer can be reached at dboyer@washingtontimes.com.

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