TSMC talking to US about CHIPS Act 'guidance' amid subsidy concerns

FILE PHOTO: A smartphone with a displayed TSMC (Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company) logo is placed on a computer motherboard in this illustration taken March 6, 2023. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/Illustration/File Photo

TAIPEI (Reuters) -Taiwanese chipmaker TSMC said on Monday it is communicating with Washington about its "guidance" for a law designed to boost U.S. semiconductor manufacturing that has sparked concerns about subsidy criteria.

Conditions for subsidies include sharing excess profit with the U.S. government, and industry sources have said the application process itself could expose confidential corporate strategy.

"We can confirm that we are communicating with the U.S. government about the CHIPS ACT guidance," TSMC, the world's leading contract chipmaker, said in a short emailed statement.

South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol also said last month that the criteria are worrying companies like Samsung Electronics Co Ltd and SK Hynix Inc.

Taiwan Economy Minister Wang Mei-hua told reporters on Monday that TSMC was specifically talking to the United States about the details of the subsidies.

"The Taiwan government and industry have a very close understanding (of what is going on) and hope that the details of the relevant subsidy legislation will not affect industrial cooperation between the two sides and costs for industry-related construction," she said.

The U.S. Commerce Department told Reuters that it will protect confidential business information and expects "upside sharing" will only happen in instances where projects significantly exceed projected cash flow.

Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co Ltd (TSMC) is investing $40 billion in a new plant in the western U.S. state of Arizona, supporting Washington's plans for more chip-making at home.

Details of expected subsidies for the plant have not been disclosed.

The subsidies would come from a $52 billion pool of research and manufacturing funds earmarked under the CHIPS Act.

The U.S. Department of Commerce said last month it will protect confidential business information and expects that the requirement to share excess profit will only occur when projects significantly exceed projected cash flow.

(Reporting by Ben Blanchard and Jeanny Kao; Editing by Edwina Gibbs, Kirsten Donovan)

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