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U.S. Commerce chief to make pitch for chips funding in Michigan

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U.S. Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo listens to a question during an interview with Reuters at the Department of Commerce in Washington U.S., September 23, 2021. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque/File Photo

WASHINGTON, Nov 29 (Reuters) – U.S. Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo will on Monday make a pitch in Michigan for Congress to approve $52 billion to expand U.S. semiconductor manufacturing even as it continues to review data on the chips market from companies around the world.

Raimondo is visiting a United Auto Workers local hall and meeting with Michigan politicians, officials from General Motors Co (GM.N), Ford Motor (F.N) and Chrysler-parent Stellantis on the chips push.

Detroit’s Big Three automakers and other global automakers have been forced to cut production and even make some vehicles without features like heated seats or digital speedometers because of semiconductor shortage.

In September, the Commerce Department issued a request for information on the chips market to automakers, chip companies and others, saying the information would boost supply-chain transparency, and set a Nov. 8 deadline to respond.

Raimondo told reporters more than 150 firms “including many companies in Asia” voluntarily submitted data to the department. “We’re very pleased with the volume of response,” Raimondo said. “These are extremely detailed and we’re still evaluating the quality of the submissions.”

Raimondo said it will be “several more weeks” before the department will offer its assessment. She also expects to share a high-level summary but pledged to protect confidential company data.

She added it is too soon to say if the department will need to invoke compulsory measures to get additional data: “It’s still an option.”

On Nov. 17, House and Senate leaders said they will negotiate seeking final agreement on a bill to boost U.S. technology competitiveness with China and semiconductor manufacturing. The Senate-approved legislation would award $52 billion for semiconductor manufacturing and authorize $190 billion to strengthen U.S. technology and research.

“We need the House to pass its version of the CHIPS Act,” Raimondo plans to say Monday in a separate Detroit Economic Club appearance according to excerpts released by her office. “China, Taiwan, the EU, and so many others are all moving forward, while the United States is playing catch up. We cannot afford to fall behind.”

Raimondo will add the United States needs “our partners and allies to maintain a strong global supply chain and address this shortage. That’s why Commerce is pursuing strategies like ‘nearshoring’ and ‘friendshoring,’ so like-minded partners are integrated into our supply chains.”


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