What's in a Chip? The Rising Conflict Over Mineral Inputs for Semiconductors

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Semiconductors form the building blocks of modern digital life. Chips govern everything from missile guidance systems to the headlights in your car, and the fight for the cutting edge of this technology appears to be entering a new phase. The United States, in partnership with allies like Japan and the Netherlands, has sought to cut off China’s access to advanced chip designs and semiconductor manufacturing equipment. In response, China has announced a raft of export controls on minerals needed to produce modern chips, leveraging its dominance in the supply chain for mining and refining key minerals.

 In this episode, Ryan C. Berg sits down with Dr. Chris Miller, Associate Professor with the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University, Nonresident Senior Fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, and author of Chip War: The Fight for the World's Most Critical Technology. Together, they analyze the challenges and choke points in the semiconductor supply chain, including the need to identify and certify alternative suppliers, as well as the role that countries in the Western Hemisphere can play in breaking China's monopoly over the raw material inputs for semiconductors. They also unpack the challenges to getting more mining, refining, and processing online, and how the United States can better partner with allies to shore up this sector of the supply chain.