President Joe Biden to visit Arizona semiconductor plant under construction

President Joe Biden will be in Phoenix on Dec. 6 to recognize a milestone in the development of the Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. facility in north Phoenix.

The event will celebrate the “first tool-in,” which marks when the building is ready for the first of the manufacturing equipment to be moved inside.

It will be Biden’s first visit to Arizona as president.

TSMC bought 1,128 acres of land in late 2020 and began construction at its site in north Phoenix near Interstate 17 and Loop 303 in April 2021. The first phase of the facility represents a $12 billion investment, the largest foreign direct investment in Arizona history.

The semiconductor fabrication facility, or fab, is expected to be operational in 2024. Hiring has been underway for the facility, and TSMC expects to have more than 2,000 people working at the Arizona facility by next year.

Growing the United States’ semiconductor manufacturing environment has been an administration priority. Biden signed the CHIPS and Science Act in August, which provides up to $52 billion to help grow the country’s production of semiconductors and related technologies as the world faces a global shortage. Arizona Sens. Kyrsten Sinema and Mark Kelly were major backers of the legislation, which aimed to decrease the country’s dependence on foreign manufacturing for microchips.

Sinema helped add provisions requiring NASA to fund key science research at Arizona universities, maintain the International Space Station and send the first woman to the moon.

Kelly was a key negotiator for the legislation, including the $52 billion in funds for chip production. During his reelection campaign this year, Kelly talked about the CHIPS Act’s importance as a job-creation tool for Arizona that will impact workers at all skill levels.

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Earlier this month, Gov. Doug Ducey announced $100 million in funding to grow the state's semiconductor manufacturing industry. The funds will be managed by the Arizona Commerce Authority.

The first phase of the fab will manufacture TSMC’s 5-nanometer chips. Reuters first reported the second phase of the facility will manufacture the smaller 3-nanometer chips. Bloomberg first reported that Apple plans to source some of its chips from the Arizona facility.

Most of the world’s semiconductors are manufactured in Taiwan, leaving the supply chain vulnerable, especially as tension between China and Taiwan grows.

TSMC's factory has already had a major effect on Arizona's economy. Several industry suppliers that work with TSMC internationally have begun to develop in Arizona or have announced plans to expand to the state. The city of Phoenix designated land in Deer Valley near Pinnacle Peak Road and Seventh Avenue as a "supplier site" for TSMC-related companies to locate, and several have bought large parcels of land in Pinal County.

Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris made stops in Phoenix and Tempe in October 2020 in his only visit to the state during that pandemic-abbreviated campaign.

His presidential visit comes as Arizona voters again showed the state is among the most politically competitive in the country and will figure prominently in Democrats’ bid to hold onto the White House in 2024.

This article originally appeared on Arizona Republic: President Joe Biden to visit TSMC plant being built in north Phoenix