The so-called “Chip Act”, which provides a $52 billion subsidy to the US national semiconductor industry, has made it possible to launch some initiatives to develop this industry in neighboring countries. At least this month known on the intentions of the US authorities to cooperate with Panama and Costa Rica in the semiconductor industry.
Intel has been working with the last of the countries for many years; there has been a company for testing and packaging processors and chipsets since 1997. It remained virtually unemployed until 2014, as Intel redistributed the entire burden in this area in favor of similar companies in China, Malaysia and Vietnam. The Costa Rica plant was idle at the time but reopened in 2021 as the pandemic boosted demand for semiconductor components.
Last week, Costa Rican authorities approved the US intention to include that country in the national semiconductor supply chain development program. The International Fund for Innovation and Technological Security (ITSI), created for this purpose, received funding of $500 million, which it can use equally over the next five years to expand cooperation with the closest US allies in the field of semiconductor supplies.
It is not specified for which purposes the funds are to be used in Costa Rica, but first the semiconductor industry there must undergo an examination process. A similar process is planned for local laws and the regional labor market is analyzed for alignment with the interests of American trustees.
As explained BloombergA similar initiative is being implemented by the United States and in cooperation with Panama. The trade ministers of both countries met in May and July this year to discuss the development of the semiconductor assembly business in Panama. In 2021, Panama exported $1.1 million worth of semiconductor products, mainly to neighboring countries Honduras and Costa Rica, but support from US authorities is sure to expand this activity to its more influential neighbor to the north. According to US State Department officials, the authorities of this country consider Panama as a partner that can ensure the stability and diversity of semiconductor component supply chains.