Obama makes made-in-America pitch at N.Y. chip site

Obama stumps in Albany, N.Y., calling for bringing back manufacturing back to jobs to the U.S. -- or "insourcing."

College of Nanoscale Science and Engineering (CNSE), University at Albany, where President Obama spoke today.
College of Nanoscale Science and Engineering (CNSE), University at Albany, where President Obama spoke today. CNSE

President Obama today made a campaign stop at a major chip research and manufacturing in hub in New York to reemphasize his made-in-America theme.

Obama visited the College of Nanoscale Science and Engineering (CNSE) of the University at Albany, State University of New York. CNSE is an education and research facility centered on nanotechnology.

The visit was intended to highlight "insourcing" and the connection between education, innovation, and manufacturing in supporting investment and bringing jobs back to the U.S.

The region is home to chipmakers IBM and Globalfoundries, the latter is in the final stages of constructing one the most advanced chip manufacturing facilities in the world. Other chipmaking-related firms in the area include New York include Air Liquide, Applied Materials, ASML, KLA-Tencor, and Tokyo Electron Limited.

Obama began by visiting the university's clean room and quipped that "clean is not a word I usually associate with college students."

Highlights of Obama's speech at CNSE's nanotechnology center (which was streamed live at Whitehouse.gov):

  • IBM, Globalfoundries: "You've got companies like IBM, Globalfoundries...they could have decided to pack up and move elsewhere but have decided to stay in upstate New York because it made more sense to build here and hire here. You had more to offer. Some of the best workers in the world. An outstanding university."
  • Private sector: "We know the true engine of job creation in this country is the private sector...it's not Washington. But there are steps we can take as a nation to make it easier for companies to grow and to hire...to create platforms of success."
  • Incentives to make things in America: "What we need to do now is make it easier for companies to do the right thing. One place to start is our tax code. At the moment, companies get tax breaks for moving factories, jobs, and profits overseas. They can actually end up saving on their tax bill when they make the move." Obama went on to discuss more specifics of eliminating tax incentives to ship jobs overseas, spelled out here.
  • Insourcing: "You've heard about outsourcing. Today more and more companies are insourcing. Cause even when we can't make things cheaper than other countries because of their wage rates, we can always make them better."
  • Make it here: "After years of undercutting the competition, now it's getting more expensive to do business in places like China. Wages are going up, shipping costs are going up, and meanwhile American workers are getting more efficient and companies here getting more competitive."

Obama had planned to visit Globalfoundries new Fab 8 facility in Malta, N.Y., but the event was moved to CNSE for logistical reasons, according to the chipmaker.

Milpitas, Calif.-based company is making a bid to become one of the world's leading contract chip manufacturers in order to challenge global leader Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC).

Globalfoundries was originally the chipmaking arm of Advanced Micro Devices but is now fully owned by the Abu Dhabi government.

About the author

Brooke Crothers writes about mobile computer systems, including laptops, tablets, smartphones: how they define the computing experience and the hardware that makes them tick. He has served as an editor at large at CNET News and a contributing reporter to The New York Times' Bits and Technology sections. His interest in things small began when living in Tokyo in a very small apartment for a very long time.

 

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