A report from the Center for Security and Emerging Technology (CSET) highlights the slow pace of fab construction in the U.S. compared to global counterparts, attributing this lag to complex regulatory policies. The study examines fab construction between 1990 and 2020, revealing that the U.S. lags behind countries like Taiwan, Korea, and Japan in average construction times, with the period between construction start and production averaging 736 days. Furthermore, the number of fabs constructed in the U.S. has declined over the years, contrasting with China's significant acceleration in fab construction.

The report identifies seven critical requirements for building fabs: land, low seismic activity, a stable water supply, reliable electricity, talent, infrastructure, and closeness to suppliers. While the U.S. excels in many of these areas, regulation poses a significant challenge. The report emphasizes the need for reform at all levels of government to streamline regulatory processes and address the complexity and redundancy of existing rules while considering exceptions for the semiconductor industry.

The regulatory landscape in the U.S. is notably complex due to its federal structure, contributing to challenges for fab construction. Environmental protection policies at multiple levels of government also impact construction, with the study recommending the establishment of a fast track to expedite construction projects for the semiconductor industry.

The study also suggests investing in the development of alternative materials and stockpiling rare materials to mitigate supply chain challenges as well as highlighting the necessity of achieving consistency and unity between national, state, and local government policies for effective fab construction.

This report underscores the importance of addressing regulatory complexities, environmental policies, and streamlining processes at all levels of government to enhance the competitiveness of the U.S. in fab construction relative to global counterparts.

Read full report here https://cset.georgetown.edu/wp-content/uploads/CSET-No-Permits-No-Fabs.pdf