A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) has been signed, solidifying a commitment among 12 partners to develop semiconductor manufacturing capabilities in Latvia, thus increasing EU independence from other global chip manufacturers.
The memorandum is made up of three key components; developing the microchip ecosystem, developing educational and research capabilities, and fostering development and manufacturing capabilities throughout the entire semiconductor supply chain.
Memorandum partners include; Riga Technical University, University of Latvia, University of Latvia - Institute of Mathematics and Computer Science, University of Latvia - Institute of Solid State Physics, LMT, Mikrotik, Tet, the Electronic Communications Office of Latvia, the Liepaja Special Economic Zone, the Confederation of Latvian Employers, the Ministry of Economics of the Republic of Latvia and the Education and Science Ministry of the Republic of Latvia.
Latvia's electronic and optical device manufacturing sector has been the fastest-growing manufacturing sector since 2010, growing from 3.7% to 7% of manufactured volume in 2022. Approximately 90% of manufactured electronics are exported. Latvia has already demonstrated itself as a strong electronics manufacturing hub through companies such as Mikrotik, HansaMatrix, Lightspace Technologies, SAF Tehnika, and others. It also is home to various scientific institutes already providing R&D for early TRL chips. Combine with mobile technology innovators and developers, such as LMT, developing 5G testbeds and labs, Latvia is home to a full spectrum of necessary partners to develop semiconductor capabilities at a meaningful scale.
“Any production, innovation, or supply chain element, which we can provide locally in Latvia, strengthens our positions within the community of international innovators and our independence from other countries’ capabilities or desire to be involved in our projects. The strengthening of the local microchip production ecosystem and signing of this Memorandum is one more step toward the extension of the technological horizon, which for several years now has been promoted by Europe’s most important forum – 5G Techritory.” - Juris Binde, President & Chairman of the Management Board, LMT
Europe's current share of semiconductor manufacturing is at 9% of global supply. Its goal is to increase that share to 30% until 2030. The Latvian semiconductor manufacturing memorandum is a direct reflection of the desire to reduce dependence on Asian-manufactured chips and bringing value-added industries into Europe. This comes at a time when microchip supply has become a matter of security. The Europen Commission in February of 2022 published the “Chips Act”, to “bolster Europe's competitiveness and resilience in semiconductor technologies and applications, and help achieve both the digital and green transition”.
The MoU was signed during 5G Techritory, the 5th annual forum for 5G decision-makers to meet and drive the development of 5G technologies in Europe.
5G Techritory is organized by the Electronic Communications Office of Latvia, powered by the Investment and Development Agency of Latvia (LIAA) and the European Regional Development Fund. Organized in cooperation with the International Telecommunication Union, and strategic partners Ministry of Environmental Protection and Regional Development of the Republic of Latvia, LMT, The Nordic Council of Ministers and The Nordic Council, and the Digital Accelerator of Latvia.