Panel members talk about how the United States and the Netherlands — two key players in the semiconductor sector — can work more closely together to strengthen the supply chain.


by Sean Silbert
Innovation Attaché Network

Semiconductors are the “brains” of the devices we use every day. From cellphones to washing machines and from cars to smart devices, our modern electronics would be little more than paperweights without semiconductors.

They enable our power grids, military defenses, entertainment, and communications while driving advancements in countless applications. The reliance on semiconductors makes it more important than ever to understand how they crisscross the world as they are built.

And that makes the continued transatlantic partnership in this high-tech field equally as important to understand.

That was the topic of our Lunch and Learn seminar on April 5 on Capitol Hill.

The seminar was part the embassy’s Holland on the Hill program, a joint effort with the US Congressional Dutch Caucus, corporate partners, and the Netherland-America Foundation to strengthen the economic, political, and cultural ties between our two nations.

The April 5 session focused on transatlantic cooperation in this important technological field, serving as a key sector in the geopolitical and geo-economic landscape, which is ever changing as a result of security of supply and access to critical knowledge and innovation.

During the session, representatives from key elements of the semiconductor supply chain, from Dutch companies ASML and NXP to international players TSMC, Qualcomm and Tokyo Electron, discussed how the United States and the Netherlands can work together to secure global semiconductor supply chains and value webs.

The global chip industry faces supply chain shortages due to the ever-increasing electrification and digitization of new sectors and disruptions caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

In addition, a changing geopolitical landscape impacts supply chains and access to critical knowledge and innovation.

Representative Peter Meijer of Michigan (left) talks with Ingrid Thijssen, president of the Netherlands Confederation of Business and Employers, and Ambassador André Haspels after the seminar.

During the hour-long discussion, panel members discussed how the United States and the Netherlands — two key players in the semiconductor sector — can work more closely together to strengthen the supply chain.

The session opened with a welcome address from Ambassador Andre Haspels, who provided an overview of the semiconductor environment and the importance of the transatlantic relationship.

Ingrid Thijssen, president of the Netherlands Confederation of Business and Employers, then took the stage to speak on the Dutch semiconductor industry and its place in the economy.

The industry experts provided valuable insight on how to enhance transatlantic cooperation in the semiconductor sector.

While each representative elaborated on how collaboration affects their own element, all of them represented the entirety of the semiconductor supply chain. In particular, they spoke about securing semiconductor supply chains and value webs, protecting cutting-edge intellectual property, and creating a workforce to continue innovating in this fast-developing field.

To close, Representative Peter Meijer of Michigan, a Republican member of the Dutch Caucus, summarized the issues facing Congress on the shifting global environment.

As Congress debates comprehensive legislation that would change the innovation environment in the United States, including billions in financial incentives for its domestic semiconductor industry, understanding the role of the transatlantic relationship is a critical element.

Strengthening this relationship is an element that benefits us all as we build an increasingly important resource for a modern economy.