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On the Restructuring of Global Semiconductor Supply Chains


June 26, 2024
Shota Miki*1
Yoichiro Tamanyu*2


This paper provides an overview of the ongoing restructuring of global semiconductor supply chains and investigates how long-term developments in competitiveness between trading countries as well as recent changes in trade policies have affected this restructuring. Using as an example the U.S. tariff hikes against China during 2018-19, which serves as a natural experiment, we first confirm that the stylized facts shown in previous studies -- that China's exports to the U.S. decreased significantly, while bystander countries not directly involved in the tariff hikes increased their exports to the U.S. -- hold true for semiconductor-related products. Then, to further examine the restructuring of global semiconductor supply chains, we calculate the upstreamness -- the distance from final use -- of each country's exports in the supply chain, and examine how this has evolved over time and how it can be related to wage differences between those countries. We find that export upstreamness is positively correlated with the wage gap between the trading countries and confirm that this tendency existed well before the recent tariff hikes. These observations imply that the restructuring of global semiconductor supply chains is not led solely by the direct consequences of the tariff hikes, but also by the endogenous response to changes in comparative advantage between the countries involved in the supply chain.

JEL classification
F13, F14

Tariffs, Semiconductors, Global supply chains, Upstreamness.

The authors are grateful to Ichiro Fukunaga, Wataru Hirata, Yoshihiko Hogen, Tatsuyoshi Okimoto, and the staff at the Bank of Japan for comments and discussions. The authors thank Keiji Nishikawa and Anna Tsuda for their excellent research assistance. All remaining errors are our own. The views expressed in this paper are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official views of the Bank of Japan.

  1. *1International Department
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  2. *2International Department
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