0312: NASA’s Listing of Taiwan, U.S. Car Chip Shortage

NASA’s Listing of Taiwan — Democratic Taiwan Deserves Better

Earlier this month, Taiwan’s Formosa Television (FTV) contacted NASA’s Mars 2020 EDL (Entry, Descent & Landing) Lead, Taiwanese American Mr. Allen Chen, requesting an interview with him. 

However, because Taiwan is included in “Category I” of NASA’s “Designated Countries List,” this interview request must be cleared by NASA’s Office of International and Interagency Relations. 

Due to the PRC’s bullying of the international community, Taiwan does not have formal diplomatic relations with the U.S., and therefore it is listed under “Category I.” But as a staunch U.S. ally and a beacon of democracy for other countries to emulate, democratic Taiwan must not be treated like other nations in that category such as Iran and North Korea.

FAPA hopes that members of Congress are willing to contact NASA and the State Department, and consider urging them to add an asterisk and an addendum to the Taiwan entry on the list along the following lines:
*Restrictions that apply to “Category I” do not apply to Taiwan.

Let us know if you have any questions or suggestions. Thank you! 

The U.S. Seeks Taiwan’s Help on Car Chip Shortage — A U.S.-Taiwan FTA Might Be an Answer

Recently, the U.S. has been seeking help from Taiwan, home to the world’s largest contract chipmaker, to ease a U.S. automobile chip shortage that has disrupted vehicle production. The shortage, however, is not caused by any deliberately reduced supply from Taiwan but by the cancellation of orders last year from the U.S. auto industry amid the pandemic. A U.S.-Taiwan bilateral trade agreement can enhance economic cooperation and help to solve supply-chain issues in these critical industries.

The semiconductor companies in Taiwan do not cause the ongoing U.S. auto chip shortage. As Taiwan’s de facto ambassador to the U.S., Hsiao Bi-khim, explained, the Taiwanese chipmakers had been forced to reassign production last year because of a sharp drop in auto chip orders, as automakers had anticipated poor sales amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Hsiao added that the chip manufacturers in Taiwan are now working hard to increase production to meet current strong market demand.

The U.S. car chip shortage is “primarily a function of the [auto] industry itself miscalculating its production needs,” Rupert Hammond-Chambers, president of the Virginia-based U.S.-Taiwan Business Council (USTBC), explained. The flow of semiconductor chips is a commercial matter, with companies placing orders based on expected demand, he said. The chip supply issue in the U.S. “is absolutely not a function of any deliberate punitive actions by a Taiwan company,” he said, adding that it is instead “the result of American manufacturers failing to order enough chips.”

Last month, U.S. and Taiwanese officials and industry leaders held a virtual conference on enhancing supply chain cooperation and development goals in the semiconductor industry. At the meeting, industry leaders called for a U.S.-Taiwan bilateral trade agreement. Closer U.S.-Taiwan economic cooperation would reduce trade barriers and address supply-chain issues in the critical semiconductor industry. Moreover, industry leaders suggested that the U.S. should consider re-entry to the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) and help countries like Taiwan be included.