Canada, IBM to Announce Chips Pact Amid Biden-Trudeau Visit

Plan Would Build Out Microchip Ecosystem in Region, Integrate With US Manufacturing
The IBM office in Foster City, Calif.
The IBM office in Foster City, Calif. (David Paul Morris/Bloomberg News)

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Canada and International Business Machines Corp. will announce a high-level agreement on expanding semiconductor cooperation on March 24, during President Joe Biden’s visit to Ottawa.

The memorandum of understanding will seek to capitalize on the U.S. push for semiconductor investment with its CHIPS Act, according to a government official familiar with the matter. The document likely will be released after Biden and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau hold their bilateral meeting in the morning.

IBM already operates a large facility for testing and packaging semiconductors in Bromont, Quebec, less than an hour north of the U.S. border.

The agreement will lay out a plan to further build out the microchip ecosystem in the region, particularly when it comes to workforce development. It also will pledge to look at increasing Canada’s role in the semiconductor supply chain and integrating it with U.S. manufacturing.

Canada’s ultimate goal, the official said, is to develop a cross-border trade corridor for chip manufacturing, patterned on the extensive automotive sector cooperation between the two countries. Industry Minister François-Philippe Champagne has been meeting with IBM and other companies in the sector to push for more investment.

Trudeau also pledged to deepen North American cooperation on chips when he met with Biden and Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador in January. That agreement included a promise to map out semiconductor supply chain gaps and opportunities across the continent, and to organize a trilateral forum this year with industry leaders and representatives from each government.

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