President Barack Obama's visit to new $4.6 billion upstate New York computer chip plant follows his call to cut taxes for U.S.-based high-tech manufacturers.
His May 8 visit to the 900,000-square-foot GlobalFoundries Inc. plant in a small town near Albany, N.Y., the state capital, will show the benefits of keeping manufacturing in the United States, Reps. Chris Gibson, R-N.Y., and Paul Tonko, D-N.Y., told reporters.
GlobalFoundries, the world's third-largest independent semiconductor foundry, based in Milpitas, Calif., passed over Germany and Singapore, where it already has facilities, to build in Malta, N.Y., population 13,000.
"We have the intellectual capital in place that will allow us to compete and to win," Gibson said of the area.
The nearly completed plant -- which Saratoga County Chamber of Commerce President Todd Shimkus told The (Saratoga Springs) Saratogian is "the largest economic development project in the United States" -- has begun test-manufacturing computer chips and expects to be fully operational this summer, three years after the groundbreaking, said GlobalFoundries, formerly part of Intel Corp. rival Advanced Micro Devices Inc., the world's second-largest producer of computer chips.
The plant, on a 1,414-acre site, employs 1,300 people and plans call for increasing the number to 1,600 by the end of the year, the company said.
Obama, who has traveled the country promoting ideas he outlined in his Jan. 24 State of the Union address, said in that speech: "If you're a high-tech manufacturer, we should double the tax deduction you get for making your products here.
"And if you want to relocate in a community that was hit hard when a factory left town, you should get help financing a new plant, equipment, or training for new workers," Obama said.
GlobalFoundries is receiving $1.37 billion in state aid over 15 years, state officials said.
Obama said in his address it was "time to stop rewarding businesses that ship jobs overseas, and start rewarding companies that create jobs right here in America. Send me these tax reforms, and I will sign them right away."
Elected officials in New York say they're counting on the factory to provide a major boost to the ailing upstate region by attracting more investment. They say they hope the investment will create a cluster of businesses and academic centers that can ultimately rival Route 128 outside Boston or North Carolina's Research Triangle.
The Malta factory -- the first facility to produce 300mm silicon wafers designed for 32 nanometer technologies -- will help make the United States globally competitive in chip manufacture for the first time in years, some experts told The New York Times.
A nanometer is a billionth of a meter.
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