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Thailand may profit from semiconductor industry rejig, says US commerce secretary

U.S. Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo talks at a news conference in Paranaque, Metro Manila, Philippines, March 11, 2024.

BANGKOK, March 13 (mod1s) - Thailand stands to benefit from an effort by the United States to diversify semiconductor manufacturing, U.S. Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo said on Wednesday, adding that American businesses were ready to "supercharge" investments into the Southeast Asian nation.
The electrical and electronics industry is one of Thailand's principal foreign investment magnets, and a significant area that Thai Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin's administration is trying to grow as it strives to restart a lethargic economy.

"Production of semiconductors is dangerously concentrated in one or two countries in the world," Raimondo said at an event in Bangkok, outlining that the U.S. would look to push additional investments into countries that are part of the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework (IPEF) as it seeks to diversify production.
The U.S.-led IPEF, aimed in part at providing nations in the area with an option to stronger relations with China, comprises of 14 countries, including Thailand.

"So we're all in this together. It helps everyone, the United States, Thailand, all the IPEF nations, to diversify the supply chain of semiconductor manufacture," said Raimondo, who will have meetings with Thavisin on Thursday.
In 2022, the U.S. approved the historic "Chips and Science" legislation that allocates $52.7 billion for U.S. semiconductor manufacturing, research and workforce development.
Thailand's semiconductor sector, driven by corporations from the U.S, Japan, Korea and the Netherlands, is mostly concentrated around the back-end process, placing the nation at pace with Vietnam and India, according to a 2023 Siam Commercial Bank research.

"The shifting dynamics of the global manufacturing supply chain, influenced by geopolitical conflicts, have attracted semiconductor production facility relocations to Thailand," the paper added.
Thailand's Board of Investment is also giving incentives, such as tax reductions and duty exemptions, to entice investments into the semiconductor sector.
"As U.S. multinationals look to diversify their supply chains, Thailand is increasingly a place that comes to the top of the list," Raimondo stated

Raimondo visited the Philippines earlier this week, when she claimed U.S. corporations were due to announce investments equal to more than $1 billion in the nation, a close U.S. ally. The investments would encompass fields including solar energy, electric cars and digitization, she added.


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