Intel: American Chip Production Could Be Reduced From December 16, That’s Why

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Intel has been at the center of news of the last days due to the criticism of its CEO Pat Gelsinger at TSMC and the presentation of the Arc Alchemist GPUs at The Game Awards. The company, however, also issued some comments on the semiconductor crisis, which Intel believes may soon be worsening.

In particular, Intel criticised a decision of the U.S. International Trade Commission, or USITC, which blocked imports into the United States of a material known as Optiplane. The substance is a chemical compound used for chemical-mechanical planarization of surfaces, and is produced mainly in Japan and Taiwan by Rohm & Haas, a company linked to the giant of American chemistry DuPont.

DuPont was accused of breaking Optiplane’s patent for its production: the latter, in fact, is held by CMC Materials Inc., another chemical company based in the United States. USITC has promised that by 16 December it will come to a decision on the dispute, but that it could have catastrophic results on the semiconductor industry: if CMC comes out, in fact, the imports of Optiplane from Japan and Taiwan would cease

For this reason, Intel, which has several production sites in the United States, is trying to push USITC to a verdict favourable to DuPont, opposing the accusations of CMC. In particular, in an appeal to USITC, the company writes that “preventing the use of Optiplane sludge in American chip and semiconductor production chains without a period of at least 24 months notice could conflict with American economic interests and national security.”

Intel is likely to fear that blocking imports of Optiplane, central to the semiconductor production chain, could favour foreign producers such as TSMC or Chinese companies, causing serious damage to multinational companies that are investing in the United States, such as Intel itself.

However, if CMC Materials’ request were to be approved, Optiplane imports would cease from the same December 16, 2021, creating serious problems for the entire American IT sector. For this reason, several USITC employees have been in favour of a compromise solution, which gives companies a period of 24 months to adapt to the ban of the substance.

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