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EU, Japan to deepen chip cooperation says Breton

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The European Union (EU) will deepen cooperation with Japan on semiconductors, its industry chief said on Monday, as countries move to strengthen control over a technology vital for defence, electronic and automotive industries, according to Reuters.

The EU and Japan will work together to monitor the chip supply chain and facilitate the exchange of researchers and engineers, Thierry Breton said. The EU will also be supportive of Japanese semiconductor companies considering operating there, including through access to subsidies.

“We believe that it’s extremely important to secure the supply chain of semiconductors,” Thierry Breton told Reuters in Tokyo, where he is discussing cooperation on chips and artificial intelligence with the government and companies.

Japan is also offering subsidies to revitalize its chip industry, which retains an edge in materials and equipment but has lost overall global market share, and is backing chip foundry venture Rapidus.

Breton is scheduled to meet Rapidus on Tuesday.

“I think it’s really an important initiative and going in the right direction,” he said of the foundry venture.

Plans by Rapidus to produce cutting-edge chips rely on support from Leuven, Belgium-based research company imec and IBM.

A Japanese government-backed fund last week agreed to buy photoresist maker JSR Corp for $6.4 billion to drive consolidation in the industry.

The deepening cooperation between the EU and Japan comes as the bloc has pledged to reduce its dependence on China, which aims to increase its capabilities in high-end technology such as chips.

“We made it very clear we just want to de-risk,” Breton said.