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US thanks Taiwan for accelerating auto chip production amid shortage

The United States has thanked Taiwan for its help resolving an auto chip shortage that snarled production.

Car factories around the world are shutting assembly lines because of the chip shortages, which in some cases have been exacerbated by the former Trump administration’s actions against Chinese chip companies.

Taiwan, home to tech firms such as Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co Ltd (TSMC), the world’s largest contract chip maker, is leading the way in trying to resolve the shortage.

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“The US side thanked us for our help on this,” Taiwan Economy Minister Wang Mei-hua said after a meeting, which she said was attended by senior executives from companies including TSMC and Qualcomm Inc.

But she added the focus of the talks was not on auto chips and the issue of whether to prioritise their production was not brought up. 

Wang said TSMC also discussed its planned new $12 billion plant in the US state of Arizona, although she did not give details.

The auto chip shortage has affected Volkswagen AG, Ford Motor Co, Subaru Corp, Toyota Motor Corp, Nissan Motor Co Ltd, Fiat Chrysler and other car makers.

HIGH-LEVEL EXCHANGE

The closed-door event, joined by the Taiwan minister and what she described as “very senior US officials”, was the first announced high-level exchange between Taiwan and the Biden administration, which took office on January 20.

The State Department said last week that Deputy Assistant Secretary for Trade Policy and Negotiations Matt Murray would take part. The de facto US ambassador to Taiwan, Brent Christensen, did attend.

Despite a lack of formal diplomatic ties, the United States is Chinese-claimed Taiwan’s most important international backer and arms supplier.

  • Reuters

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