Taiwan Meeting With Top US Official Will Discuss Silicon Shortage

A senior government official of Taiwan has confirmed that the global shortage of silicon chips for the car industry will be discussed during talks with the United States.

This is according to Taiwan Economy Minister Wang Mei-hua, speaking of a closed door meeting with US Deputy Assistant Secretary for Trade Policy and Negotiations Matt Murray.

This meeting, according to Reuters, will be the most senior announced exchange between Taiwan and US President Joe Biden’s administration so far.

Silicon Shortage

The main focus of the meeting however will not be the silicon shortage, but likely the recent comments from China, which warned Taiwan that any attempt to seek independence “means war.”

China has up stepped up its military activities in the region and flew warplanes near the island.

But it is clear that the issue of global silicon shortage will also be addressed.

Car makers have been making clear the problem this chip shortage is causing.

Mazda this week warned it was considering cutting its global output by thousands of vehicles in February and March.

Indeed, Mazda on Thursday just confirmed the silicon shortage will affect around 7,000 vehicles globally in February.

Last month it was reported that Audi (part of the Volkswagen group) was having to slow production because of the computer-chip shortage, forcing it to make 10,000 fewer cars in the first quarter of the year and putting more than 10,000 workers on furlough.

The previous week to that Volkswagen had also slowed production due to a lack of chips; and Daimler (which makes Mercedes), Fiat, Honda, Ford, Nissan, Subaru and Toyota also all reportedly had to suspend production for days or weeks at a time.

Taiwan’s Wang Mei-hua met with executives of major Taiwanese chipmakers this month, after Germany’s Economy Minister Peter Altmaier wrote to Wang to ask her for help in addressing the shortage.

Wang reportedly also said the United States, European Union and Japan had also been in contact.

Samsung earlier this week warned that a global shortage in semiconductors for cars could have a knock-on effect on the memory chips used in smartphones.

Main topic

Now during the meeting with Matt Murray from the US, Wang said semiconductors will be the “main topic” of the rare high-level economic talk between Taipei and Washington, but noted that the “main focus” of the meeting is not on auto chips.

“It’s actually a broader theme of future collaboration and goals for the semiconductor supply chain,” she told reporters.

Wang acknowledged that the chip shortage had led to a “great impact” on the global scale, but she said as a democratic government, Taiwan “cannot interfere” in company operations.

Tom Jowitt

Tom Jowitt is a leading British tech freelancer and long standing contributor to Silicon UK. He is also a bit of a Lord of the Rings nut...

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