back to article US senators call for more transparency over $12bn TSMC fab plant investment

The construction of a $12bn semiconductor factory in Arizona owned and operated by TSMC has prompted a group of Democrat senators to probe whether the Taiwanese giant was lured with the promise of financial incentives. In a letter [PDF] issued to US commerce secretary Wilbur Ross and defense secretary Mark Esper, senators Jack …

  1. elDog

    If there's real money to be made, don't expect real transparency

    The old-fashioned idea of accountability, auditing, and "the people's interest" have long since fled the stable, genius. The US government has been weeviled out by evil incompetents as has the senate and much of the federal court system.

    I expect the crime family's coffers to be brimming with newly minted greenbacks from places like SA, UAE, USSR, let alone Taiwan.

  2. tip pc Silver badge

    What am I missing here?

    TSMC want to spend $12bn building a semiconductor plant in Arizona USA and senators are complaining?

    Maybe TSMC could spend that $12bn in the UK or another 5 eyes nation building semiconductor plants instead?

    I truly don’t understand why the senators are complaining when TSMC build chips for US firms that could be built in China instead?

    What am I missing here?

    1. sanmigueelbeer Silver badge

      Re: What am I missing here?

      TSMC want to spend $12bn building a semiconductor plant in Arizona USA and senators are complaining?

      And NVIDIA gets sued because it made money. WTF has the world turned into!

      Lets see: Jack Reed is a senator from Rhonde Island, Patrick Leahy a Vermont senator and Chuck Schumer represents the state of NY.

      Yup, they want a piece of the $12bn pie.

      This is how US politics works: For every action there is an equal and opposite criticism.

    2. Olius

      Re: What am I missing here?

      The senators want to know what subsidies have been offered to the company in exchange.

      When these subsidies have been subtracted from the "investment", what's left is the actual investment.

      To complicate matters, this "investment" isn't really investment if it doesn't pay local contractors for the build, use locally sourced kit or employ locals in the day-to-day running.

      And then there'll be things like projected sales to overseas customers, and the value of patents they might create at the plant and which country will hold them (and therefore, potentially, profit from them). Also, internal sales to US customers might be cheaper, which adds national value to the project.

      It sounds to me like this is the kind of detail they are after - essentially, the long-term value of the investment, which may even be negative if the subsidies offered are high enough (although one would hope that there are other tangible benefits in the long run if it turns out that the US are basically paying for this company to set up shop there)

      1. skeptical i
        Devil

        Re: What am I missing here?

        Possibly relevant: Arizona's governor is a proud carrier of water for His Trumpiness, and it also wouldn't hurt for Arizona's governor to be politically indebted should there be any hiccups in building that big beautiful Wall.

  3. HildyJ Silver badge
    FAIL

    Remember the last "triumph"

    In 2018 Foxconn, Apple's screen supplier, was going to build a $10b, 13,000 job, plant in Wisconsin which Trump declared would be "the Eighth Wonder of the World." For this they would get up to $4.8b in tax incentives, land at below market rates, free infrastructure, waived state and federal regulations, and special legal privileges. To date little has been constructed, no manufacturing equipment has been installed, and fewer than 200 people are employed there (I suspect PR flacks, lawyers, and janitors,in the main).

    TSMC may be different but the incentives, land, infrastructure, regulatory grease, and privileges will be the same. Or higher. I guess it will be the ninth wonder of the world.

    1. sanmigueelbeer Silver badge

      Re: Remember the last "triumph"

      Do you know anyone in TSMC White House?

      I got a bridge to sell. Cheap!

    2. batfink Silver badge

      Re: Remember the last "triumph"

      Ah yes - the Foxconn deal that was going to cost $1,000,000-ish per job created. And that was counting the Build jobs, which weren't going to be permanent. Nothing wrong that that ROI then.

    3. EnviableOne Silver badge

      Re: Remember the last "triumph"

      Then Apple decided to go to Samsung for their screens

  4. Pascal Monett Silver badge

    "whether the Taiwanese giant was lured with the promise of financial incentives"

    Really ?

    Are these guys new to the concept of capitalism or what ?

    When a supermarket chain eyes a spot of land it wants it not only gets the local authorities to exempt it from taxes for ten years, but also gets roads and infrastructure made on its behalf then takes off after nine and a half because, all of a sudden, it remembers that it won't be making money soon.

    And now these senators are wondering about a $12 billion plant ? Were they born yesterday ?

    Of course there were incentives. Of course there were promises to not tax them on the basis of surface usage, or headcount, or anything that ensures that TSMC will build the damn thing and employ local people to make it run.

    And even if that means that the only locals are janitors, it still means that there will be an influx of housing improvements, as a whole lot of people will be flying in from Taiwan to be part of the plant.

    Because the USA no longer has that expertise. So shut the fuck up and take what you can get. And smile while you're at it.

    1. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

      Re: "whether the Taiwanese giant was lured with the promise of financial incentives"

      When a supermarket chain eyes a spot of land it wants it not only gets the local authorities to exempt it from taxes for ten years, but also gets roads and infrastructure made on its behalf then takes off after nine and a half because, all of a sudden, it remembers that it won't be making money soon.

      And now these senators are wondering about a $12 billion plant ? Were they born yesterday ? .... Pascal Monett

      That would make a Charles Ponzi proud, Pascal Monett ...... and whenever one is retarded or has learning difficulties, one doesn't need to be thought of as born yesterday whenever someone/something else plans/makes a move others could have contemplated and realised, but didn't or could not.

    2. Cuddles Silver badge

      Re: "whether the Taiwanese giant was lured with the promise of financial incentives"

      "Are these guys new to the concept of capitalism or what ?

      When a supermarket chain eyes a spot of land it wants it not only gets the local authorities to exempt it from taxes for ten years, but also gets roads and infrastructure made on its behalf then takes off after nine and a half because, all of a sudden, it remembers that it won't be making money soon.

      And now these senators are wondering about a $12 billion plant ? Were they born yesterday ?"

      See the reply to the post a couple above yours. Of course they're not new to this and they know exactly what's going on here. They're not surprised there might have been various incentives to get this deal, they're annoyed that none of the pork is coming to their constituencies. It's entirely standard behaviour. When I offer tax incentives to a business, it's an important economic stimulus supporting local jobs and the country's wellbeing. When you do it, it's blatant corruption and must be investigated.

    3. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      Re: "whether the Taiwanese giant was lured with the promise of financial incentives"

      "And smile while you're at it."

      Probably more of a grimace. I hear there might be a shortage of lube as production has shifted to hand sanitiser.

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