President Joe Biden on Tuesday toured a $300 million semiconductor manufacturing facility in Michigan that aims to create 150 jobs and said the U.S. was “not going to be held hostage anymore” by countries like China that dominate the industry.
“Instead of relying on chips made overseas in places like China, the supply chain for those chips will be here in America,” Biden said to a crowd of more than 400 people who gathered to see him at an SK Siltron CSS facility in Bay City. “In Michigan. It’s a game changer.”
The company is part of the South Korean SK Group conglomerate, and the facility will make materials for semiconductors that will be used in electric vehicles.
Biden tied the project directly to the CHIPS and Science Act, which he signed in August. The bill includes about $52 billion in funding for U.S. companies for the manufacturing of chips, which go into technology like smartphones, electric vehicles, appliances and weapons systems.
Biden also said that China’s president, Xi Jinping, expressed dissatisfaction with the legislation when the two men met on the sidelines of the Group of 20 summit earlier this month in Bali, Indonesia.
“And he’s a little upset that we’re deciding we’re going to once again be, you know … we’re talking about the supply chain, we’re going to be the supply chain. The difference is going to be, we’re going to make that supply chain available to the rest of the world, and we’re not going to be held hostage anymore.”
China has pushed back vocally against the legislation and also against an October move by the administration to impose export controls on chips, a move intended to block China from getting these sensitive technologies.
Foreign ministry spokeswoman Mao Ning in October accused the U.S. of “abusing export control measures to wantonly block and hobble Chinese enterprises.”
This week, in response to a separate proposal through the National Defense Authorization Act aimed at banning government agencies from doing business with Chinese semiconductor manufacturers, she said: “The US needs to listen to the voice calling for reason, stop politicizing, weaponizing and ideologizing economic, trade and sci-tech issues, stop blocking and hobbling Chinese companies, respect the law of the market economy and free trade rules, and defend the security and stability of global industrial and supply chains.”
But those concerns seemed far away as Biden enjoyed the welcoming crowd and painted his vision of his nation’s technological future.
“Where is it written,” he said, “that America will not lead the world in manufacturing again?”