WSC meets in France; issues policy recommendations

May 16, 2003 – Nice, France – The World Semiconductor Council (WSC) has met for its seventh annual meeting and issued strong recommendations on a broad range of policy objectives of importance to the global semiconductor industry. The WSC is an organization that represents the worldwide semiconductor industry addressing trade, environment, and other public policy issues.

Chief among the policy statements issued was a call for China to open its market fully to all foreign semiconductor products, a condemnation of chip counterfeiting, and a recommendation that copyright levies not be applied to digital products. The WSC also re-emphasized its strong support for sound environment, safety and health practices, and reiterated its commitment to proactive approaches in this area.

“All of the major semiconductor producing regions agree on the need to eliminate trade barriers, like discrimination against foreign products in China, which is the world’s fastest growing market,” said SIA President George Scalise. “China made great strides in opening its market as part of its WTO accession but the discriminatory application of the value added tax negates the benefits it promised to provide when it joined the WTO. The semiconductor industry is calling on China to honor its WTO commitments by eliminating the discriminatory value added tax on all semiconductors, which will also help China by lowering the cost of access to information technology goods for its consumers,” Scalise said. China applies a 17% VAT on imports — domestic products are eligible for a rebate, making the effective VAT rate either 3% or 6%.

“Semiconductor makers must invest a tremendous amount in R&D, and the IP that results is literally the lifeblood of the company — that IP must be adequately protected in all markets,” Scalise said. There are an increasing number of instances of counterfeiting of IC’s and other semiconductors — the WSC committed to develop specific recommendations to address these problems by November, when the Governments/Authorities Meeting on Semiconductors takes place.

The WSC also called for the WTO to provide for a liberal trading environment for digital products, and condemned the application by certain countries of levies on products capable of copying digital products — regardless of whether copies are actually made. “Protecting copyrighted material is vital to our industry, but indiscriminately charging those who buy equipment on the presumption that they will copy protected material just doesn’t make sense,” Scalise noted, adding “those imposing levies must guarantee accountability and transparency so that only those consumers who make copies pay, and the money collected compensates rights-holders.”

The WSC is firmly committed to scientifically based, positive environmental policies and practices. The companies represented by the members of the WSC have pledged to reduce PFC emissions by at least 10% by 2010 against the base year, even as semiconductor production is increasing. The WSC received the US Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA’S) Climate Protection Award in 1998 for this project. The WSC is also moving forward with energy saving and chemical management projects.

The WSC is comprised of members of the Board of the European Semiconductor Industry Association (EECA-ESIA), the Japan Electronics and Information Technology Industries Association (JEITA), the Korea Semiconductor Industry Association (KSIA), the U.S. Semiconductor Industry Association (SIA), and the Taiwan Semiconductor Industry Association (TSIA). This meeting was chaired by Ulrich Schumacher of Infineon Technologies AG (EECA-ESIA), and opening statements were made by Kaoru Tosaka of NEC Electronics Corporation (JEITA), Yoon-Woo Lee of Samsung Electronics (KSIA), Steven R. Appleton of Micron Technology (SIA), and Morris Chang of Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSIA).


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