Senators call on Taiwan for aid in automotive chip shortage

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A group of Democratic senators is calling on Taiwan for more help with the ongoing automobile chip shortage, which has forced a number of American manufacturers to halt production despite an increase in demand for cars.

The trio of senators — Gary Peters (D-Mich.), Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.) and Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) — penned a letter to Representative Bi-khim Hsiao, Taiwan’s representative to the U.S., thanking her country for its efforts to help curb the global chip shortage and requesting more assistance in addressing the issue.

“We value your efforts to address the shortage and are hopeful you will continue to work with your government and foundries to do everything possible to mitigate the risk confronting our state economies,” the senators wrote.

“These plants are absolutely critical to our state economies, employing tens of thousands of our constituents and supporting a critical supply base that amplifies their significance by as much as ten-fold,” they added.

Auto manufacturers with plants in the U.S. have recently halted production in response to the global chip shortage, including Ford, General Motors and Nissan Motors, according to Reuters.

An auto trade group cited by the news service estimates that the chip shortage will lead to 1.3 million fewer vehicles being manufactured in the U.S. in 2021, which is a more than 10 percent decrease from numbers recorded before the pandemic.

The senators also offered another grim assessment

“What we are hearing at this point is that the risk of shortages clearly has extended into 2022, despite the considerable efforts in Taiwan to augment production,” they told Hsiao.

The senators expressed concerns with the chip shortage affecting the pandemic recovery in the U.S., especially in states that have auto manufacturing plants. 

“This shortage threatens the U.S. post-pandemic economic recovery, the consequences of which are especially acute in auto manufacturing states like ours,” they wrote.

“In what should be good news for our country’s economic recovery, demand for vehicles—from cars to commercial trucks—is now up, yet the lack of semiconductor chips is preventing this renewed demand from being met,” their letter continues.

The senators did, however, thank Hsiao for Taiwan’s “active engagement” in addressing the chip shortages, writing that it is “so consequential to the vitality of our states.”

“We know that you have worked closely with TSMC and others to address the shortage disrupting our businesses and idling so many of our workers. Your engagement is helpful and appreciated,” they added, referring to the Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company.

The senators also addressed the COVID-19 situation in Taiwan, writing that they are “carefully monitoring the COVID challenge in Taiwan and stand ready to help.”

“As policy leaders, we share a keen understanding of the challenge your country is facing and appreciate the steps you are taking to protect both the human and economic health of your country,” they added.

The Biden administration sent Taiwan 2.5 million COVID-19 vaccine doses to Taiwan, which was more than triple the initial number of shots that were allotted for the country, Reuters noted.

Tags Auto manufacturing chip shortage Debbie Stabenow Gary Peters Sherrod Brown Taiwan

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