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Weaponized Exports: America's Geoeconomic Gamble in an Era of Great Power Competition


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As the world's fourth-most traded product, semiconductors underpin modern daily life and are critical components of everything from consumer electronics to the worlds most advanced weaponry. Access to advanced semiconductors can give a nations military a competitive advantage. The semiconductor industry supply chain is considered one of the worlds most complex, inhibiting a country from domesticating the production process. Production often requires more than 1,000 steps, fostering a web of interdependencies across nearly 100 international borders. Existing interdependencies include U.S. semiconductor software, U.S., Japanese, and Dutch manufacturing equipment, and Korean and Taiwanese fabrication. The U.S. maintains an assessed 39 of the global semiconductor industry's market share and is uniquely postured to exploit its positions of strength to gain a relative adventive over its competitors. This paper recommends the application of a balanced strategy to achieve this advantage and discusses the application and effectiveness of a geoeconomic policy. This paper further discusses key areas that the U.S. can invest to revitalize the domestic semiconductor industry, including human capital and the reshoring and domestication of semiconductor manufacturing and fabrication operations.



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