News & Analysis

Designate semiconductors an essential service, says SIA

26th March 2020
Mick Elliott

Semiconductors are an essential industry and should be allowed to continue operations during the COV ID-19 outbreak.

That is the message the Semiconductor Industry Association (SIA) is sending to the US government.

It emphasises the unique cleanroom operating conditions that minimise the risk of potential virus transmissions, and the extraordinary measures many semiconductor companies around the world are taking to guard against COVID-19 while ensuring continuity of essential operations.

Semiconductors support vital parts of the global economy, critical infrastructure, and national security. And they are at the heart of many breakthrough technologies being used to combat this global health crisis, says the SIA.

SIA President and CEO John Neuffer is calling on all governments around the world at all levels – central, states/provinces, and localities – to prioritise continued operations for their domestic semiconductor companies and their suppliers by defining the semiconductor industry and its supply chain as “essential infrastructure” and/or “essential business.”

“Semiconductors underpin vital sectors of the economy, including health care and medical devices, telecommunications, energy, finance, transportation, agriculture, and manufacturing. They are the key components of the technologies that control critical infrastructure, such as water systems, the energy grid, and communication networks,” continues Neuffer.

“They also underpin the IT systems that enable remote work and access to essential services across every domain, including medicine, finance, education, government, food distribution, and more. Ensuring the continuity of semiconductor and related supply chains is necessary to support the even greater range of services that will be digitised in the coming weeks and months.”

And Neuffer indicated that since the semiconductor supply chain is highly globalised, semiconductor shortages created by operating restrictions in one region cannot be readily made up by production in other regions.

“We look forward to continuing to work with government leaders to defeat COVID-19 and to ensure the semiconductor industry remains a valuable contributor in ensuring continuity of critical infrastructure and operations during this global health crisis.”

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