The U.S. and Taiwan are working together to secure supply chains as global chip manufacturers face a looming deadline to meet the Biden administration’s request for company data, according to Washington’s envoy to Taipei
Sandra Oudkirk, director of the American Institute in Taiwan (AIT), told reporters in Taipei Friday that U.S. officials have met with the leaders of local semiconductor firms, adding that they had “excellent safeguards” to protect proprietary information.
“The Commerce Department’s request for information is designed to better understand the semiconductor supply chain,” said Oudkirk — the de facto U.S. ambassador to Taiwan in the absence of official ties — at her first news conference since being appointed in July.
She added that the drive was designed to help the department make regulations that would “improve or alleviate the disruptions to the supply chain.” Such global supply chains have been strained by a pair of problems caused by the pandemic: labor issues and a surge in demand for goods that use semiconductors.
The U.S. Commerce Department’s September call for companies to hand over information related to the ongoing chip shortage has faced resistance in Taiwan and South Korea due to concerns over possible leaks of trade secrets.
While the initiative is voluntary, Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo has warned that the U.S. might use the Defense Production Act or other tools to force the hands of companies that don’t respond by Nov. 8.
South Korea’s industry minister, Moon Sung-wook, indicated that local chipmakers were likely to submit minimal data, and Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. said it wouldn’t give away sensitive customer information. Smaller peer United Microelectronics Corp. said in a release that it had received a “courtesy call” from AIT officials on Oct. 10.
There have been concerns in China that the U.S. could use materials provided by TSMC and others to sanction Chinese companies.
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