Donald J. Trump’s upset win of the U.S. presidential election will roil a technology sector largely opposed to his positions on trade and immigration. It’s still unclear where President-elect Trump stands on other top tech issues such as corporate tax laws and federal R&D spending.
The Semiconductor Industry Association has long advocated free trade such as the Trans Pacific Partnership and other trade deals and relaxed immigration for foreign nationals with advanced STEM degrees.
In the campaign, Trump made clear he wants to “rip up” and renegotiate existing trade deals in hopes of reviving manufacturing jobs in the U.S. Apple chief executive Steve Jobs once famously told President Obama those jobs have gone overseas and are not coming back.
The prospect of trade wars and rising tariffs raise concerns for U.S. tech executives. Most of their sales these days are outside the U.S.
The tech industry has long been concerned the rising percentage of advanced STEM degrees awarded in the U.S. are going to foreign nationals. These talented people often find it difficult to stay in the U.S.
President-elect Trump campaigned on a platform of tightening immigration, specifically with Mexico and people of Muslim faith. His sometimes offensively broad brush strokes raise fears many others could get caught up in a rising tide of paranoia.
It’s not clear where President-elect Trump will come down on issues regarding federal support for tech research. However he will have several opportunities to impact decisions in the area.
President Obama set up a working group of semiconductor executives likely to recommend early next year spending billions on a chip sector facing several strategic challenges. The National Strategic Computing Initiative, also set up under Obama, aims to build multiple exascale-class supercomputers for U.S. national labs, but its funding expected to range from $3.5-$5.5 billion is not yet set.
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