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Commerce Dept. pressures Taiwan to supply more chips to US automakers

Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo testified before the Senate Appropriations Committee during a hearing in the Dirksen Senate office building on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC, April 20, 2021.

Chip Somodevilla | Pool | Reuters

The U.S. Department of Commerce is pushing Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. and other Taiwanese companies to prioritize the needs of U.S. automakers to ease short-term chip shortages, Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo said Tuesday.

Raimondo told an event for the Council of the Americas that increased investment was needed in the long run to produce more semiconductors in the United States, and that other critical supply chains needed circumcision, including for allied countries.

“We are working hard to see if we can get Taiwanese and TSMC, which is a large company there, so that you know, prioritize the needs of our car companies, as there are so many American jobs on the field,”

; Raimondo said in response to a question from a General Motors director.

“Like I said, not a day goes by where we do not push for it,” she said, adding the medium- and long-term solution would be “simply make more chips in America.”

The TSMC said remedying the shortage remained its top priority.

“TSMC has worked with all parties to address the shortage of car chip supply. We understand that this is a common concern for the global automotive industry,” it said in a statement to Reuters on Wednesday.

TSMC CEO CC Wei said last month that the company had been working with its customers since January to redistribute more capacity to support the automotive industry, but the shortage had worsened due to a snowstorm in Texas and a fab manufacturing disruption in Japan.

Wei expected that chip shortages for its car customers would be sharply reduced from next quarter.

The Commerce Department is planning a high-level meeting with automakers to take place next week on the chip shortage issue, officials briefed on the matter. A spokesman for the Ministry of Commerce declined to comment.

United Auto Workers Legislative Director Josh Nassar said in a written testimony to a hearing in the U.S. House on Wednesday that chip shortages have resulted in layoffs from “tens of thousands of workers … Clearly, we need to strengthen domestic production of car quality semiconductors. “

Last week, Ford Motor warned that the shortage of chips could reduce production in the second quarter by half, costing it
about $ 2.5 billion. and approx. 1.1 million units with lost production in 2021.

GM said Friday it would extend production shutdowns at several North American factories due to the shortage.

On April 12, Biden convened semiconductors and automotive industry leaders to discuss solutions to the chip crisis. He backs $ 50 billion to support U.S. chip production and research.

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