US Commerce chief names White House official as new chief of staff

(This March 6 story has been corrected to show the addition of only one unit of BGI Genomics to the list and three total units of BGI Group in paragraph 8)

By David Shepardson

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo on Monday named senior White House official Chris Slevin as new chief of staff of the department overseeing tens of billions of dollars in funding for semiconductor manufacturing and broadband internet deployment.

White House Office of Legislative Affairs Deputy Director Slevin helped win approval of several key pieces of legislation including the $52 billion semiconductor chips bill, the $1 trillion Infrastructure Law and the Inflation Reduction Act.

Slevin's "experience and leadership will be critical as the department moves forward to implement these consequential pieces of legislation," Raimondo said in a statement.

Last week, the Commerce Department released its plans to begin accepting applications in late June for a $39 billion semiconductor manufacturing subsidy program. The law also creates a 25% investment tax credit for building chip plants, estimated to be worth $24 billion.

The Commerce Department is also overseeing $42.45 billion in grants to states and territories to expand broadband service deployment to areas of the United States lacking access to internet services.

Former White House National Economic Council director Brian Deese told Reuters on Monday Slevin, a former Senate aide, was an "integral part of a historic run of economic legislative accomplishments and will now go and be a driving force in helping implement key elements of the Biden economic agenda in this new role."

The Commerce Department is also working on a number of efforts involving China and export controls including a proposal and pilot program for outbound investment screening.

Last week, Commerce added 37 companies to a trade blacklist, including a unit of Chinese genetics company BGI Genomics Co Ltd and Chinese cloud computing firm Inspur. It also added two other units of BGI Group, the parent of BGI Genomics Co Ltd.

(Reporting by David Shepardson; Editing by Chris Reese and Lincoln Feast.)