tyson106_Yoray LibermanGetty Images for Bloomberg magazine_semiconductors Yoray Liberman/Getty Images for Bloomberg magazine

From Sanctions to Semiconductor Resilience and Security

Russia's war in Ukraine has highlighted the vulnerability of sprawling supply chains and underscored the importance of key technological inputs like semiconductors. With much of the world united in holding Russia to account, the moment is perfect for deepening multilateral collaboration in strategically vital industries.

BERKELEY – To be effective, economic sanctions depend on multilateral coordination. Freezing the Russian central bank’s holdings and kicking Russian banks out of the SWIFT financial messaging system for international payments in response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine are groundbreaking moves. But such measures will be successful only if there are no (or at least very few) ways to circumvent them. Their implementation and enforcement must be truly multilateral, extending beyond NATO and the transatlantic community.

The unprecedented multilateral response to Russia’s war is an opportunity for the United States and its allies to strengthen their collaboration on a wide range of shared security and economic issues. Consider the semiconductor industry, which is crucial for today’s economy and for national security. The sanctions limiting Russian access to semiconductors depend on support from TSMC in Taiwan and Samsung in South Korea, the leading global producers of both commodity chips and the more advanced chips used in many weapons systems.

Policy collaboration in the semiconductor sector can and should extend beyond the sanctions. There are many promising opportunities for collaboration among the economies that form the core of today’s complex semiconductor supply chain: the US, the European Union, Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, Israel. All are investing significant public funds and deploying industrial, research, training, trade, and cross-border investment policies to increase their semiconductor producers’ capabilities.