President Joe Biden on Friday applauded Intel’s announcement that it’s investing more than $20 billion to build a new computer chip facility in Ohio. Biden also called on Congress to pass legislation that would fund semiconductor production and development, and strengthen supply chains.

Intel said it will build two new chip factories on a nearly 1,000-acre site in Licking County, just outside Columbus. The initial phase of the project is expected to create 3,000 full-time jobs and 7,000 construction jobs and support tens of thousands of additional jobs, the tech company said. 

The announcement comes amid a global shortage of semiconductors, which help power many products, including smartphones, televisions, home appliances and vehicles.

After years of heavy reliance on Asia for the production of computer chips, vulnerability to shortages of the crucial components was exposed in the U.S. and Europe as they began to emerge economically from the pandemic.

The rising price of used cars and trucks, driven in part by chip shortages, has been one of the largest contributors to U.S. inflation in recent months. 

The U.S. share of the worldwide chip manufacturing market has declined from 37% in 1990 to 12% today, according to the Semiconductor Industry Association, and shortages have become a potential risk.

“As every consumer in America now knows, we've seen disruptions in our supply chain globally,” Intel CEO Pat Gelsinger said during an event at the White House on Friday. “Many products are on backorder, and Christmas trees were not nearly as full this year simply because the industry does not have enough chips. Our lives depend on them.

“Most semiconductors today are sourced overseas,” he added. “As a country, we cannot rely solely on imports for such essential technology. And the only way to address this economic and security risk is to increase our domestic semiconductor manufacturing capacity.”

Biden called Intel’s investment “truly historic.”

“To be able to say ‘Made in Ohio,’ ‘Made in America’ — it’s what we used to always be able to say 25, 30 years ago,” he said. “That's what this is about.”

Intel said the site can accommodate up to eight factories and that its total investment in the facility could grow to as much as $100 billion over the next decade.

Planning for the first two factories will begin immediately. Construction is expected to begin later this year, and the facility is expected to begin producing chips by 2025. The company also pledged to spend an additional $100 million on partnerships with educational institutions to build a pipeline of talent and bolster research programs in the area.  

It will be Intel’s first new manufacturing site in 40 years. 

Biden noted that semiconductors were invented in the U.S. with the help of federal research and development funding. He said decades ago the U.S. used to invest 2% of its gross domestic product in research and development, but that has fallen to less than 1% today. 

“American manufacturing, the backbone of our economy, got hollowed out,” Biden said. “Companies moved jobs and production overseas, especially from in the industrial Midwest.”

Biden urged Congress to pass the United States Innovation and Competition Act, which would invest nearly $90 billion in semiconductor manufacturing, research and development, and supply chain security. The bill, which cleared the Senate in June, includes $52 billion to incentivize for more companies to build factories in the U.S. 

“Let's get another historic piece of bipartisan legislation done,” the president said. “Let's do it for the sake of our economic competitiveness and our national security. Let's do it for the cities and towns all across America, working to get their piece of the global economic package. And let's do it for the dignity and pride of this country and the American worker.”

Meanwhile in Ohio on Friday, Gov. Mike DeWine called Intel’s announcement “monumental news” for the state.

“Intel’s new facilities will be transformative for our state, creating thousands of good-paying jobs in Ohio manufacturing strategically vital semiconductors, often called ‘chipsm,” he said in a statement. “Advanced manufacturing, research and development, and talent are part of Ohio’s DNA, and we are proud that chips — which power the future — will be made in Ohio, by Ohioans.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.


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