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TSMC is continuing to complain about 'unacceptable' US chip plant terms

TSMC investing $40 billion in Arizona fabs

Apple's processor manufacturer TSMC is asking the US for $15 billion in aid to help it build plants in the country, but is arguing against the Biden Administration's conditions.

Taiwan's TSMC is nearing the opening of its Arizona plant, and the US wants it to build more, but there were already political and financial pressures. As the US does not recognize Taiwan as a separate nation, it has no tax agreement with the country — so TSMC pays tax twice.

According to the Wall Street Journal, TSMC has now said that it is concerned about rules that the US requires it to follow regarding profit sharing and operational information.

"Some of the conditions are unacceptable," TSMC chair Mark Liu told attendees at an industry meeting, "and we aim to mitigate any negative impact from these and will continue discussions with the US government."

Liu also said that the current terms could dissuade chip makers from working with the US. In response, the Biden Administration has said that its rules are intended to protect American taxpayers and see that their money is used as stated.

It further says that, without specifying details, the US Commerce Department would only expect profit sharing if those profits greatly exceed projections. The Wall Street Journal further reports that the US says it would protect TSMC's confidential information.

In December 2022, TSMC announced that it was tripling its investment in Arizona to $40 billion, and would be opening a second plant there.

Between these two Arizona plants, unspecified sources told the Wall Street Journal that TSMC expects to get tax credits of between $7 billion and $8 billion, under the Chips Act. The sources say the company is also considering asking for a similar $6 billion to $7 billion in grants from the Commerce Department.

Previously, TSMC has questioned the US attempts to bolster local chip manufacturing, even saying the plans are "doomed to fail," although without fully specifying why. TSMC is said to believe that its dominance in the semiconductor market is a "silicon shield" that protects it as tensions continue between the US and China.

Those same political tensions reportedly caused investor Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathway firm to sell almost all of its stock in TSMC.

Aside from politics, and adding to its litany of complaints about working in the US, TSMC engineers claim that Americans don't work hard enough.