The US Needs to Get Back in the Business of Making Chips

American innovation, from smartphones to search engines to gene sequencing, is built on a foundation of impossibly intricate, perfectly etched silicon. But few of those semiconductors are actually made in the US. Only 12 percent of chips sold worldwide were made in the US in 2019, down from 37 percent in 1990.

For decades, that wasn’t seen as a problem. US companies were world leaders in designing cutting-edge chips, the most valuable and important part of the process.

Now, that’s changing. Supply disruptions caused by the pandemic and an intensifying technology rivalry with China are prompting industry executives and policymakers to say the US must actually make, not just design, chips.

“It’s a national security risk if we don’t start producing more semiconductors in America,” Gina Raimondo, the US secretary of commerce, said Tuesday at an event in Washington, DC.

Speaking at the Global Emerging Technology Summit, sponsored by the National…

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