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UK joins EU initiative with £35 m investment in semiconductor research

Britain said on Wednesday it was joining European Union efforts to develop and manufacture advanced semiconductors in Europe, pledging 35 million pounds ($45 million) to an overall 1.3 billion euro ($1.4 billion) research and innovation fund.

Both Britain and the EU have sought to secure a domestic semiconductor supply chain after the pandemic exposed their reliance on global chipmakers and key technologies owned by Chinese and U.S. companies.

Britain said joining the European chips initiative would allow companies in the British semiconductor sector to bid for grants from the bigger European fund.

Semiconductors are widely, and increasingly, used in everyday devices, fuelling a global subsidy race to attract manufacturers and develop new technology.

The European Commission in January presented a package of plans aimed at improving economic security and preventing unwanted technology transfers to rivals such as China.

The EU last year passed a 43 billion euro subsidy programme similar to incentive packages in China, the United States, Taiwan, South Korea and Japan.

Last year, Britain rejoined the Horizon Europe science programme, a key EU funding scheme for many types of research and innovation which administers the semiconductor initiative and has an overall budget of 95.5 billion euros.

Britain was initially blocked from participating in Horizon because of disputes over post-Brexit trade rules. Reuters

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