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US thanks Taiwan for support for auto chips in key trade meeting

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Taiwan and U.S. flags (Reuters photo)

Taiwan and U.S. flags (Reuters photo)

The United States thanked Taiwan on Friday (Feb. 5) for help on resolving an auto chip shortage that has snarled production, but there was no discussion on prioritizing the making of these chips, Taiwan Economy Minister Wang Mei-hua said after a high-level meeting.

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

Taiwan, home to tech firms like Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co Ltd (TSMC), the world’s largest contract chipmaker, has become front and centre of efforts to resolve the shortage.

“The U.S. side thanked us for our help on this,” Wang told reporters of the meeting she was said was attended by senior executives from companies including TSMC and Qualcomm Inc.

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

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

TSMC did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the meeting.

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

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

The State Department said last week that Deputy Assistant Secretary for Trade Policy and Negotiations Matt Murray would take part.

The de facto U.S. ambassador to Taiwan, Brent Christensen, did attend and was seen getting into his car after the meeting was over.

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


Updated : 2021-04-21 23:17 GMT+08:00