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IBM vice chairman Gary Cohn joined Fox News on Wednesday as he pushed lawmakers to negotiate passage of legislation that he said would help prevent America from being dependent on Asia for semiconductor chip manufacturing.

Cohn, who also served has Donald Trump’s top economic adviser said the coronavirus pandemic’s economic repercussions showed the importance of “vital goods” being sourced stateside.

“The one thing that continues to be a necessity that we don’t have in this country are semiconductors, are chips. If you go back 20, 30 years ago, we were fairly sustainable in chips,” he said. “We manufactured about 40% of the chips that we need in this country as chip consumption has grown. We’ve gone down to just over 10% of domestic chip production.”

Cohn said that today, 90% of chips come from Asia – chiefly Taiwan and China.

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The U.S., he said, needs to engage further in competition for semiconductor manufacturing, pointing to Japan and Germany themselves trying to lure production to their countries.

“We in the United States cannot allow ourselves to be in a vulnerable position where we have to import chips. Chips go in everything we need today. They go from national security all the way down to your toaster and everything in between,” he said, alluding to the shortage that stymied automobile manufacturing over the past year.

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Ford Motor vehicles parked in an overflow lot in Louisville, Kentucky (Luke Sharrett/Bloomberg via Getty)

Ford Motor vehicles parked in an overflow lot in Louisville, Kentucky (Luke Sharrett/Bloomberg via Getty)

“A mid-range car today has over 200 chips inside of it. Chips are really computers on wheels,” Cohn said.

He praised the bipartisan nature of the bill, noting it is one of the race pieces of legislation that has made it into conference committee between the two houses of Congress.

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When asked about the January 6 hearings, Cohn noted he had left the White House in 2018, long before the 2020 election.

“January 6 was a horrific day, something that was it was tough to watch,” he said.

“I think American citizens are entitled to know what happened. I’m just not sure we need to watch the facts come out, but I think we’re entitled to know the facts.”

 

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