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More Than 200 Companies Want to Apply for CHIPS Act Funding, Commerce Secretary Raimondo Tells Cramer

Kevin Lamarque | Reuters
  • $50 billion in "national security" investment through the CHIPS Act will be doled out to applicant firms, Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo told CNBC's Jim Cramer.
  • More than 200 companies have expressed interest in applying for CHIPS funding.

More than 200 companies from myriad sectors have expressed interest in applying for CHIPS Act funding, Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo told CNBC's Jim Cramer on Friday, as part of what Raimondo called a mandate to invest "$50 billion in America's national security."

The CHIPS Act was signed into law in August 2022, part of a sweeping package of investment designed to catapult U.S. semiconductor manufacturing back into global primacy and reshape how companies decide where to invest their production budgets.

"Enough chips of the right kind, in the whole supply chain, in the United States," Raimondo said when describing what she was looking for. The recipient companies are varied, but Raimondo told Cramer that some of the funds will be routed to "packaging companies, leading edge companies" within the U.S.

There are important caveats that come with accepting federal aid, Raimondo said.

"It has to be spent in America," the Commerce secretary told Cramer. Raimondo made a particular point of singling out China.

"If you take our money, you can't expand in China for leading-edge" chips, Raimondo said.

The no-foreign-investment string is designed to prevent taxpayer dollars from subsidizing foreign economies, but the CHIPS Act as a whole has garnered controversy even with U.S. allies. The European Union, for example, is already moving in with a smaller $47 billion semiconductor package.

More than half of the potential applications cover the first tranche of CHIPS Act funding, which include mature-node and leading-edge chip facilities. Those same potential applications span 35 states, according to a National Institute of Standards and Technology press release.

CORRECTION: After publication, Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo's office noted that while Raimondo had referred to interested parties as having entered "applications," the firms in question had merely expressed their interest in applying.

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