President Joe Biden on Tuesday dropped by Taiwanese chipmaker TSMC's new plant in Arizona.
The project was first announced in 2020 during the term of former President Donald Trump, but Biden has since made reshoring the production of computer chips a top priority — including pushing for the passage of a bill that puts aside $52 billion toward expanding the industry domestically.
Biden's visit aligned with what's called "first tool-in," which isn't a ground breaking, but rather when actual machinery is brought into the facility. It also coincided with the announcement that TSMC plans to invest $40 billion in a second Arizona plant that will manufacture more advanced semiconductors.
Speaking before an audience that included Apple CEO Tim Cook, TSMC founder Morris Chang, Micron CEO Sanjay Mehrotra, and Nvidia CEO Jensen Huang, Biden emphasized the job-creating potential of the project.
He also highlighted his administration's vision to once again make the U.S. a leading chip manufacturer. Today it produces just 10 percent of the world supply.
This is the fourth semiconductor plant that Biden has visited since September. Just last week, he stopped by a plant run by the South Korean company SK Siltron in Bay City, Michigan. He also visited an IBM facility in Poughkeepsie, New York.
Members of the administration said the government's support for the industry reflects a significant break with the previous orthodoxy of the federal government taking a less hands-on approach to economic development.
"This is actually about building an economic strategy that goes beyond semiconductors," Brian Deese, director of the White House National Economic Council, told reporters earlier in the day. "This is a marked departure from the economic philosophy that has governed for much of the last 40 years in this country, which was a sort of trickle-down economic strategy."