Taiwanese Company Demands U.S. Taxpayers Cover the Higher Costs of Making Semiconductors in Arizona

“The largest semiconductor manufacturer on the planet agreed to open factories in the U.S. instead of abroad. The company wants the government to pick up the tab for the difference in cost, even as it postpones production.”

“In a January 2023 earnings call, TSMC Chief Financial Officer Wendell Huang said that while he couldn’t give an exact number for the financial discrepancy between building in the U.S. and Taiwan, “the major reason for the cost gap is the construction cost of building and facilities, which can be 4 to 5x greater” in the U.S.

Of course, part of that gap can be explained by factors like the difference in the cost of living—by one estimate, over twice as much in the U.S. as in Taiwan. But in November 2022, a month before Biden announced the project, TSMC wrote in a public response to questions from the Commerce Department that it doesn’t “see access to capital as a significant barrier to growth in the US”—rather, specific factors making the project more expensive included “federal regulatory requirements that increase project scope and cost.”

Rather than forking over billions of dollars to a single company, the Biden administration should take steps to ease regulatory burdens on expanding companies. Similarly, plenty of firms could benefit from a greater number of high-skilled workers, like those proficient in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) fields. And yet foreign nationals who graduate in STEM fields from American universities face near-impossible challenges to stay in the country and most end up going elsewhere. Congress could help that situation by raising the number of green cards that can be issued annually.

With TSMC’s delay, Biden and Congress have an opportunity. TSMC admits that its issues are bureaucratic, not financial, so there’s no need to shovel more money at a wealthy company. Instead, lawmakers should get rid of cumbersome regulations and create a more welcoming environment for both businesses and workers.”

Canada Is Poaching America’s High-Skilled Foreign Workers

“The United States doesn’t make it easy for talented foreigners to permanently settle in the country, even if they work in critical fields and stay in legal status. For workers on H-1B visas, a nonimmigrant classification reserved for highly skilled, highly specialized laborers, it can take years to adjust to a green card. For Indian nationals, it can take decades.”

“”America hasn’t streamlined its immigration system in over two decades,” says Sam Peak, a senior policy analyst at Americans for Prosperity. “Canadian policy makers continue to find new ways to take advantage of that.””

TikTok Is Too Popular To Ban

“Investigative journalists have tried hard to find evidence that TikTok is leaking data to Chinese authorities, but to no avail.
“I haven’t found any evidence” of “the company handing over data to Chinese authorities, or security risks associated with its connection to the Chinese state,” writes Chris Stokel-Walker—who has done ample critical reporting about the company—at Buzzfeed this week:

I’ve been trying for years to find any links to the Chinese state. I’ve spoken to scores of TikTok employees, past and present, in pursuit of such a connection. But I haven’t discovered it….””

“TikTok adamantly denies allegations about data sharing with the Chinese government. “TikTok has never shared, or received a request to share, U.S. user data with the Chinese government,” said its CEO in prepared testimony released ahead of today’s House hearing. “Nor would TikTok honor such a request if one were ever made.”
“Let me state this unequivocally: ByteDance is not an agent of China or any other country,” the testimony continues. “Bans are only appropriate when there are no alternatives. But we do have an alternative.”

The company has been cooperating with U.S. regulators to develop protocols around user data that will help mollify security and privacy concerns. “TikTok has formed a special-purpose subsidiary, TikTok U.S. Data Security (USDS), that currently has nearly 1,500 full-time employees and contracted with Oracle to store TikTok’s U.S. user data,” notes Reuters. According to Chew’s testimony, “Oracle has already begun inspecting TikTok’s source code and will have unprecedented access to the related algorithms and data models.””

Is the U.S. military industrial base prepared for peer competitor war?: Video Sources

The U.S. Defense Industrial Base Is Not Prepared for a Possible Conflict with China Seth G. Jones. CSIS. https://features.csis.org/preparing-the-US-industrial-base-to-deter-conflict-with-China/ Affordable Mass: The Need for a Cost-Effective PGM Mix for Great Power Conflict Mark A. Aunzinger. 2021 11. Mitchell Institute. https://mitchellaerospacepower.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/11/Affordable_Mass_Policy_Paper_31-FINAL.pdf Ukraine War

We Already Have 18 Intelligence Agencies. We Still Need 1 More.

“The U.S. cannot adequately address its national security challenges related to China, which are increasingly driven by technology, without the help of a potentially surprising partner: the Department of Commerce.

Unfortunately, the department itself lacks the critical support needed for these efforts. Most crucial: Commerce needs its own intelligence agency.”

“The cases that come before CFIUS are privileged and not publicly disclosed. But I can say this: The most challenging ones usually revolved around issues of advanced or dual-use technology, an area in which the Department of Commerce plays a critical role given its international trade and export control responsibilities.

Today, the Department of Commerce is an agency unexpectedly on the frontlines of vital U.S. national and economic security challenges, most prominently demonstrated by its leading role on ensuring critical access to semiconductors, and as evidenced by the CHIPS Act and recent rules promulgated by the department to protect against even knowledge transfers between the United States and China.

But these efforts are certain to be a beginning for Commerce, not an end. And a dedicated in-house intel agency can better identify emerging threats and challenges from China that Commerce needs to tackle, including potential spyware and other intrusions embedded in foreign technology. For instance, in late November, the U.S. issued a ban on new Huawei and ZTE equipment — along with that of three other Chinese companies — for fear it would be used to spy on Americans. Last month, Congress proposed limiting U.S. exposure to Chinese 5G leaders, including Huawei, by restricting their access to U.S. banks, adding them to Treasury’s Specifically Designated Nationals List.

In fact, Commerce’s current position is not unlike that of the Treasury Department’s in 2004.

That year — as part of the Intelligence Authorization Act — Congress established the current iteration of Treasury’s intelligence agency, the Office of Intelligence and Analysis, and formally made it part of the broader intel community. Since then, OIA has played a critical role for almost two decades combating terrorist financing, helping support sanctions efforts and providing financial intelligence to Treasury policymakers.

OIA’s successes would simply not have been possible without it being a full, integrated member of the intelligence community. Indeed, its assessments often find their way to the White House and to other senior policymakers across town, even as its primary focus is supporting the Treasury Department.

In the same way, the Commerce Department cannot be expected to play a more fulsome role in U.S. national security if its leaders are not fully informed of the strategic goals and illicit tactical efforts of U.S. adversaries. To meet that expectation, requires the launch of a new, 19th intel agency to be housed at the department.”