US businesses focused on semiconductors, clean energy, carbon reduction

January 29, 2024 | 14:29
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Under Secretary of State for Economic Growth, Energy, and the Environment Jose Fernandez shared the direction of cooperation with Vietnam in the fields of semiconductor chips, clean energy and carbon reduction at a meeting with members of the American Chamber of Commerce in Ho Chi Minh City on January 24.

The meeting was part of a tour of the Vietnam, the Philippines and South Korea from January 22 to February 1, with Vietnam being the first stop.

US businesses focused on semiconductors, clean energy, carbon reduction
Under Secretary of State for Economic Growth, Energy, and the Environment Jose Fernandez shared the direction of cooperation with Amcham's member in Ho Chi Minh City

Talking to the business community, Fernandez highlighted the strong economic relationship between Vietnam and the United States, especially after President Joe Biden's visit in September 2023 and the upgrade of the two countries relationship to a comprehensive strategic partnership.

Details focused on the Biden-Harris Administration’s efforts on climate change, clean energy, health, supply chain security, and other economic priorities.

He emphasised the importance of the MoU recently signed by Vietnam and the US in semiconductors and human resources for the industry in Vietnam. The goal is to promote Vietnam's participation in the global supply chain, thereby contributing to enhancing security and prosperity in the region. In addition, rare earths are also the focus of Fernandez's work agenda.

"The semiconductor supply chain is the main reason for me to come to Vietnam. We are proud to cooperate with Vietnam in semiconductors, which plays a key role today,” he said.

Talking about investment opportunities between the two countries in the semiconductor chip industry, he noted that in 2022, about 1,000 billion microchips were traded globally.

The Chips and Science Act passed last year demonstrated the US commitment to invest more than $50 billion to support the introduction of chip factories into this market, including the International Technology Security and Innovation.

Under this plan, the US will spend $500 million to stabilise and expand global semiconductor production, ensure the semiconductor supply chain, and develop ICT.

"Vietnam, with its advantages in microchip assembly, testing and packaging skills, is an important partner in this initiative. Cooperation aims to diversify and strengthen the global microchip ecosystem, solving to resolve the challenge of human resource development in both countries," he said.

In the energy sector, the US, through the Clean Energy Demand Initiative (CEDI), has connected countries and companies committed to using renewable energy.

Since launching CEDI at COP26 a few years ago, the Clean Energy Buyers Alliance has partnered with 15 companies in Vietnam, signalling the ability to invest up to $8 billion in clean energy infrastructure.

“There are also a number of companies that told us that they will be willing to invest even more if they could be assured of receiving renewable power from for their production facilities. So part of the reason for our comprehensive partnership is for finding ways to unlock this potential. And we hope that we can do that soon,” he added.

In addition, he emphasised the importance of diversifying the rare earth supply chain, while maintaining environmental sustainability.

“On the economic side, we see that investors and manufacturers searching for areas of production that offer a green environment and particularly a low carbon environment,” he added.

In Vietnam, Fernandez cited the garments and textiles exports are declining slightly due to global economic influences, and to green initiatives that have been taken by other countries.

“Some of your global brands who invest here are shifting some of their orders to countries like Bangladesh, which is committed to sustainability and green practices as part of their efforts to reduce their carbon footprint. We're here to discuss Ho Chi Minh City's ambitious to reduce emissions by about 10 per cent a year,” he added.

He also mentioned expanding the carbon credit mechanism for the private sector.

“The carbon crediting mechanism will support both public and private investments to upgrade and to green assets. So that one can attract private investment into the supply chain. We aim to do this through interventions such as energy efficiency for commercial industrial buildings, installation of rooftop solar panels and private buildings, and transition to electric vehicles and so on. These interventions are relatively easy to implement, but they're often very small and fragmented as considerable high-tech transaction costs are involved,” he added.

The growth of trade between Vietnam and the US has proven the increasingly good relationship between the two countries.

In 2022, Vietnam - US bilateral trade turnover will reach more than $138 billion, and Vietnam currently ranks eighth among US trading partners in goods.

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