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WSC Sets Aggressive Targets for Reductions in Energy and Water Usage

The World Semiconductor Council (WSC) concluded its twelfth successful annual meeting today in Taipei with a wide-ranging set of recommendations for expanding global trade in semiconductors and electronic products, enhancing intellectual property protections and supporting strong environment, safety and health practices. The WSC is the leading international organization representing the world's major semiconductor industry associations from the US, Japan, Europe, Korea, China and Chinese Taipei.

“In 1997 when the WSC was founded, the semiconductor industry was largely characterized by sales of corporate IT products to the U.S. and Japan,” said SIA President George Scalise. “Today more than 50 percent of our demand is driven by consumer electronic products, and geographically that demand is located in the Asia Pacific region. The WSC is a clear demonstration of the value of international collaboration in driving best practices in the areas as diverse as IP protection and environment, safety and health in this new market reality,” noted Scalise.

The WSC activities to promote IP protection include assisting government efforts to seize counterfeit semiconductors and improving patent quality. Counterfeit semiconductors have a much larger impact than many other fake goods because of the likelihood that they will damage the end systems in which they are incorporated.

“The WSC has driven the adoption of very aggressive targets for reductions in energy and water usage, and waste discharges – with average industry-wide expected reductions from 30-45 percent from 2001-2010. Achieving these reductions requires a joint commitment to invest in the most advanced and environmentally advanced technologies and practices,” said Scalise. The group has also made progress in reducing or eliminating emissions of PFCs and usage of PFOS chemicals.

“The WSC is committed to zero tariff trade in semiconductors and the end products in which they are incorporated. As technology evolves, maintaining zero tariff treatment for these products gets more and more challenging – the WSC is leading the effort to ensure that the next generation of products, including multi-component ICs, aren’t hindered by tariffs or other barriers to trade,” Scalise said. The WSC noted the importance of concluding a successful Doha Round of multilateral trade negotiations for free trade in semiconductors and electronic products around the world in an era of increasingly diversified geographic demand.

The WSC noted its objection not only to tariffs, but to copyright levies imposed on information technology products. “Levies are, in effect, the Moore’s Law of taxation – increasing fees on technology products at the point of sale as memory capacity increases. The WSC strongly supports protecting copyright holders when their rights have been violated – but copyright levies are the equivalent of imposing a speeding ticket when you buy a new car, assuming there will be violations that haven’t yet occurred. Sales prices for 512 Mb DRAM fell about 70 percent over the last year, but levies can have the effect of wiping out much of this cost saving to the consumer,” Scalise concluded.

The WSC also encouraged their governments and authorities to support the UN Millennium Development Goal of expanding the benefits of new technologies in furtherance of efforts to eradicate poverty, and improve education, environmental sustainability and health care.

A copy of the 12th WSC Joint Statement can be found on the SIA website.

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