The European Chips Act

The European Chips Act, Preamble 41 to 50, Proposal of February 2022

European Chips Act, Preamble 41 to 50

(41) For a rapid, efficient and coordinated Union response to a semiconductor crisis it is necessary to provide timely and up-to-date information to the decision-makers on the unfolding operational situation as well as by ensuring that effective measures to secure the supply of semiconductors to affected critical sectors can be taken.

(42) The semiconductor crisis stage should be triggered in the presence of concrete, serious, and reliable evidence of such a crisis. A semiconductor crisis occurs in case of serious disruptions to the supply of semiconductors leading to significant shortages which entail significant delays and negative effects on one or more important economic sectors in the Union, either directly or through ripple effects of the shortage, given that the Union's industrial sectors represent a strong user base of semiconductors. Alternatively or in addition, a semiconductor crisis also occurs when serious disruptions of the supply of semiconductors lead to significant shortages which prevent the supply, repair and maintenance of essential products used by critical sectors, for instance medical and diagnostic equipment.

(43) In order to ensure an agile and effective response to such a semiconductor crisis, the Commission should be empowered to activate the crisis stage by means of an implementing acts and for a predetermined duration period, taking into account the opinion of the European Semiconductor Board. The Commission should assess the need for prolongation and prolong the duration of the crisis stage for a predetermined period, should such a necessity be ascertained, taking into account the opinion of the European Semiconductor Board.

(44) Close cooperation between the Commission and the Member States and coordination of any national measures taken with regard to the semiconductor supply chain is indispensable during the crisis stage with a view to addressing disruptions with the necessary coherence, resiliency and effectiveness. To this end, the European Semiconductor Board should hold extraordinary meetings as necessary. Any measures taken should be strictly limited to the duration period of the crisis stage.

(45) Appropriate, effective and proportionate measures should be identified and implemented when the crisis stage is activated without prejudice to possible continued international engagement with relevant partners with the view to mitigating the evolving crisis situation. Where appropriate, the Commission should request information from undertakings along the semiconductor supply chain. Furthermore, the Commission should be able to, where necessary and proportionate, oblige Integrated Production Facilities and Open EU Foundries to accept and prioritise an order of the production of crisis-relevant products, and to act as a central purchasing body when mandated by Member States.

The Commission could limit the measures to certain critical sectors. In addition, the European Semiconductor Board may advise on the necessity of introducing an export control regime pursuant to Regulation (EU) 2015/479 of the European Parliament and of the Council60. The European Semiconductor Board may also assess and advise on further appropriate and effective measures. The use of all these emergency measures should be proportionate and restricted to what is necessary to address the significant disturbances at stake insofar as this is in the best interest of the Union. The Commission should regularly inform the European Parliament and the Council of the measures taken and the underlying reasons. The Commission may, after consulting with the Board, issue further guidance on the implementation and use of the emergency measures.

(46) A number of sectors are critical for the proper functioning of the internal market. Those critical sectors are the sectors listed in the Annex of the Commission proposal for a Directive of the European Parliament and of the Council on the resilience of critical entities6l. For the purposes of this Regulation, defence and other activities that are relevant for public safety and security should be additionally considered as a critical sector. Certain measures should only be enacted fur the purpose of securing supply to critical sectors. The Commission may limit the emergency measures to certain of these sectors or to certain parts of them when the semiconductor crisis has disturbed or is threatening to disturb their operation.

(47) The purpose of requests for information from undertakings along the semiconductor supply chain established in the Union in the crisis stage is an in-depth assessment of the semiconductor crisis in order to identify potential mitigation or emergency measures at Union or national level. Such information may include production capability, production capacity and current primary disruptions and bottlenecks.

These aspects could include the typical and current actual stock of crisis-relevant products in its production facilities located in the Union and third country facilities which it operates or contracts or purchases supply from; the typical and current actual average lead time for the most common products produced; the expected production output for the following three months for each Union production facility; reasons that prevent the filling of production capacity; or other existing data necessary to assess the nature of the semiconductor crisis or potential mitigation or emergency measures at national or Union level. Any request should be proportionate, have regard for the legitimate aims of the undertaking and the cost and effort required to make the data available, as well as set out appropriate time limits for providing the requested information.

Undertakings should be obliged to comply with the request and may be subject to penalties if they fail to comply or provide incorrect information. Any information acquired should be subject to confidentiality rules. Should an undertaking be subject to a request for information related to its semiconductor activities from a third country, it should inform the Commission so to enable an assessment whether an information request by the Commission is warranted.

(48) In order to ensure that critical sectors can continue to operate in a time of crisis and when necessary and proportionate for this purpose, Integrated Production Facilities and Open EU Foundries could be obliged by the Commission to accept and prioritise orders of crisis-relevant products. This obligation may also be extended to semiconductor manufacturing facilities which have accepted such possibility in the context of receiving public support. The decision on a priority rated order should be taken in accordance with all applicable Union legal obligations, having regard to the circumstances of the case.

The priority rating obligation should take precedence over any performance obligation under private or public law while it should have regard for the legitimate aims of the undertakings and the cost and effort required for any change in production sequence. Undertakings may be subject to penalties if they fail to comply with the obligation for priority rated orders.

(49) The undertaking concerned should be obliged to accept and prioritise a priority rated order. In exceptional and duly justified cases, the undertaking could request the Commission to review the imposed obligation. This applies either where the facility is unable to fulfil the order even if prioritised, be it due to insufficient production capability or production capacity, or because this would place an unreasonable economic burden and entail particular hardship on the facility.

(50) Under the exceptional circumstance that an undertaking operating along the semiconductor supply chain in the Union receives a priority rated order request from a third country, it should inform the Commission of this request, so as to inform an assessment of whether, if there is a significant impact on the security of supply to critical sectors, and the other requirements of necessity, proportionality and legality are satisfied in the circumstances of the case, the Commission should likewise enact a priority rated order obligation.

Note: This is not the final text of the European Chips Act. This is the text of the European Chips Act Proposal of February 2022.