June 30, 2006
News Release 06-065
Contact: Peg O'Laughlin, 202-205-1819
U.S. SEMICONDUCTOR MANUFACTURING EQUIPMENT INDUSTRY
STILL HIGHLY COMPETITIVE, SAYS ITC
The U.S. semiconductor manufacturing equipment (SME) industry is strongly competitive in
most types of equipment, and it is one of the few industries in which the United States has a
substantial trade surplus, reports the U.S. International Trade Commission in its publication
Industry and Trade Summary: Semiconductor Manufacturing Equipment.
The ITC, an independent, nonpartisan, factfinding federal agency, recently released the report as
part of an ongoing series of reports on thousands of products imported into and exported from the
United States. Following are other highlights from the report:
- The global SME industry is dominated by the major top-tier firms; in 2004, the top 10
worldwide SME companies accounted for 58 percent of total industry sales. SME firms
within the United States are widely dispersed, although the majority are located in
California. U.S. manufacturers share worldwide production and technological leadership
with European and Japanese companies. U.S. SME manufacturers had an estimated
45 percent share of global production in 2005.
- During 2001-2005, the U.S. industry witnessed concentration, specialization, and a rapid
decrease in employment that was partially offset by an increase in productivity. Research
and development and marketing are extremely important to the industry.
- The U.S. trade surplus in SME grew from $4.1 billion in 2001 to $7.1 billion in 2005.
The largest gains were made with Taiwan, Korea, China, and Singapore. Most countries
involved in SME trade are signatories of the Information Technology Agreement (ITA),
which has eliminated tariffs for SME.
- Semiconductor producers are the main consumers of SME. They need SME to outfit
newly constructed semiconductor fabrication facilities as well as to replace and upgrade
existing equipment. Taiwan, Korea, and Japan were the largest markets for U.S. SME
exports in 2005. Asia has grown as the major global market for SME due in part to the
increase in new semiconductor fabrication facility construction in that region during
- The three major long-term trends driving SME sales are transition to larger silicon wafer
sizes (from 200 mm diameter wafers to 300 mm diameter wafers), allowing more surface
area on which to build chips; the use of 0.09 micron (and smaller) lithography to improve
the functionality of semiconductors while reducing their size; and the use of copper for
interconnects instead of aluminum because of its higher conductivity. Because these
changes lead to improved semiconductor performance and manufacturing efficiency, they
spur equipment investment by semiconductor companies.
The foregoing information is from the ITC report Industry and Trade Summary: Semiconductor
Manufacturing Equipment (USITC Publication 3868, June 2006).
ITC Industry and Trade Summary reports include information on product uses, U.S. and foreign
producers, and customs treatment of the products being studied; they analyze the basic factors
affecting trends in consumption, production, and trade of the commodities, as well as factors
bearing on the competitiveness of the U.S. industry in domestic and foreign markets.
This report will be available in the Publications section of the ITC Internet site at www.usitc.gov.
A printed copy may be ordered without charge by calling 202-205-2000 or by writing the Office
of the Secretary, U.S. International Trade Commission, 500 E Street SW, Washington, DC
-- 30 --