Computer chip makers seek US permission to work during COVID-19

Computer chip makers seek US permission to work during COVID-19

US chipmaker Intel Corp's logo
US chipmaker Intel Corp's logo is seen on their "smart building" in Petah Tikva, near Tel Aviv, Israel. REUTERS/Amir Cohen/File Photo

REUTERS: A group representing major United States semiconductor companies on Wednesday said it was working with federal officials to make clear to state and local officials overseeing lockdowns that chip companies are essential businesses that should continue operations.

In a blog post, the Semiconductor Industry Association, which represents chipmakers with major US factories such as Intel Corp and Micron Technology Inc, said it was working with the US Department of Homeland Security to refine the guidance sent to state and local officials last week.

That guidance mentioned chipmakers as an essential business because of their role supporting information technology, which has become crucial as millions of Americans work from home. John Neuffer, the group's president, said in a blog post that chips also play a vital role in medical equipment, power grids and other needed infrastructure.

"Ensuring the continuity of semiconductor and related supply chains is necessary to support the even greater range of services that will be digitised in the coming weeks and months," he wrote. 

"Since the semiconductor supply chain is highly globalised, semiconductor shortages created by operating restrictions in one region cannot be readily made up by production in other regions."

To date, major chip companies in the United States have not reported manufacturing disruptions. Last week, Intel Chief Executive Bob Swan said in a letter to customers that its factories, including locations in California, Oregon, New Mexico and Arizona, were "sustaining a rate of on-time delivery currently greater than 90 per cent."

Sanjay Mehrotra, chief executive of memory chip maker Micron, which has factories in Utah, Idaho and Virginia, also said in a letter last week that the company had "carefully managed raw materials and our supply chain to maintain our manufacturing capabilities and production."

Source: Reuters

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