Taipei, Oct. 12 (CNA) The new European Chips Act will provide strong support to build a robust semiconductor supply chain in Europe, and collaboration with like-minded partners such as Taiwan will be sought, an European Union official said at the 2023 EU Investment Forum held on Thursday in Taipei.
Thomas Skordas, deputy chief of the European Commission’s Directorate-General for Communications Networks, Content and Technology, delivered a pre-recorded keynote speech in which he detailed the strategic objectives expected to be achieved by the European Chips Act, which came into force on Sept. 21.
The act aims to boost the Europe Union’s own manufacturing capacity in semiconductors while at the same time developing supply chain resilience, diversifying its sources and strengthening cooperation with those who share the EU’s democratic values, according to Skordas.
He said this is fully in line with the new economic security strategy that European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen announced earlier this year, which includes “de-risking our technological dependence in some countries, both by developing resilience in our supply chains and by strengthening our cooperation with like-minded partners around the world.”
Skordas pointed out various areas of possible collaboration with Taiwan as he illustrated the three strategic objectives of the Act – supporting research and innovation, creating the conditions for industrial investment in Europe, and developing intelligence to monitor supply chains and set up alert mechanisms for stakeholders to manage significant chip shortages.
On research and innovation, as the Act seeks to support “the transition from lab to fab by investing in large-scale, innovative infrastructures,” the EU wishes to “attract collaborations with like-minded partners in those areas that still require very significant efforts to overcome major technology roadblocks as we move toward below 1 nanometer dimension,” he said.
He indicated the development of open source hardware such as RISC-V, which is an open-standard, royalty-free ISA (Instruction Set Architecture) that will enable more possibilities as companies can develop their own processors as an area where international collaboration could take place.
Another area requiring international cooperation, Skordas said, is the replacement of PFAs in semiconductor supply chains, which are essential in semiconductor manufacturing but toxic chemical substances.
Another big challenge where the EU welcomes international cooperation is quantum technologies and most notably quantum computing, he said.
“Through the Chips Act our efforts will be to create innovative design libraries, harmonization of standards with existing semiconductor manufacturing infrastructure, as well as tailor-made testing facilities for quantum chips,” he added.
On the Act’s aim to drive industrial investment in Europe, the EU official said they are “very pleased to see that TSMC has announced the establishment of a joint venture with NXP in Finland and Bosch to build a fab in Dresden, Germany, which is valued at around US$10.6 billion.”
“This is an excellent example of collaboration between our major industrial players and between of course Europe and Taiwan,” he added.
As to monitoring the supply chain to respond to possible chip shortages, Skordas said the EU is building international agreements with international partners to “exchange information and coordinate activities on the way the supply chains function internationally.”
“Considering the global nature of the semiconductor value chain, we’re already actively cooperating with like-minded partners in proactively managing interdependencies to ensure reliable global supply chains and security of supply,” he added.
Skordas also emphasized education and training as one area of continued EU-Taiwan cooperation.
“We’re bringing stakeholders together and fostering collaboration between companies, universities and vocational training providers … We’d like to salute here the agreement between the German state of Saxony and TSMC to set up an exchange program that could bring European students to Taiwan to study and work,” he said.
Skordas said the EU hopes to see more similar initiatives, which is an “excellent model of international cooperation” in bringing industry and academia together.
Source: Focus Taiwan