0514: TSMC Helps to Ease Auto Chip Shortage, Taiwan Not Invited to WHA

TSMC Helps to Ease Auto Chip Shortage and Plans up to Six Wafer Fabs in Arizona

On May 5, Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co (TSMC), the world’s largest contract chipmaker, said in a statement that the company’s top priority right now is to reallocate production capacity to increase automotive chip supply to support the global auto industry. In addition, it was reported that TSMC will build five more wafer fabs in Arizona in addition to the one already planned.

TSMC’s statement was made after Reuters reported on May 5 that United States Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo has pressed TSMC and other Taiwanese chipmakers to supply more chips to the U.S. automakers since there’s so many American jobs on the line. Raimondo told an event that the long-term solution would be “simply making more chips in America.”

Ford Motor Co stated that the chip shortage might slash second-quarter production by half, costing it about US$2.5 billion of lost production this year. General Motors Co stated that it would extend production halts at several North American factories because of the shortage. United Auto Workers legislative director Josh Nassar said that the chip shortage had caused layoffs of “tens of thousands of workers.” 

At an investor news conference held earlier in mid-April, TSMC CEO C.C. Wei said the company has been working hard to address the automotive chip shortage challenge faced by its clients. Wei said on the back of rising production, the impact of the shortage on TSMC’s clients is expected to ease significantly in the third quarter of this year.

Last week, Reuters cited unnamed sources as saying that in response to a request from the U.S. government, TSMC will build five more wafer fabs in the U.S. state of Arizona in addition to the one (a $12 billion USD investment) announced in 2020. TSMC has already obtained a large piece of land in Arizona to ensure its investment plan has space for possible future expansion.

[1] Focus Taiwan: https://focustaiwan.tw/business/202105050018
[2] Taipei Times: https://www.taipeitimes.com/News/front/archives/2021/05/06/2003756931
[3] Taipei Times: https://www.taipeitimes.com/News/front/archives/2021/05/05/2003756869

Despite Strong International Support, Taiwan Is Not Invited to WHA

Although the international community had expressed strong support for Taiwan’s participation in the upcoming World Health Assembly (WHA), the World Health Organization (WHO) still refused to send Taiwan an invitation.

On May 6, the French Senate adopted a resolution, with a vote of 304-0 and 19 abstentions, supporting Taiwan’s participation in international organizations, including the WHO.

French Senator Alain Richard, the chairman of the Senate’s Taiwan Friendship Group, said that Taiwan’s bid to participate in the WHO should be supported in light of its outstanding efforts against the COVID-19 pandemic. Taiwan should also be supported in its bid to take part in other international organizations and treaties, such as the International Criminal Police Organization (INTERPOL), the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), and the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), he added.

Commenting on the passage of the resolution, Jean-Baptiste Lemoyne, secretary of state at France’s Ministry for Europe and Foreign Affairs, said the French government supports Taiwan’s participation in international organizations. Maintaining peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait is important to the people of the world, he added.

On May 7, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken also urged the WHO to invite Taiwan to participate in the WHA as an observer, saying that China’s objections are to blame for Taiwan’s exclusion from the organization.

In a press statement, Blinken said: “There is no reasonable justification for Taiwan’s continued exclusion from this forum, and the United States calls upon the WHO Director-General to invite Taiwan to participate as an observer at the WHA – as it has in previous years, prior to objections registered by the government of the People’s Republic of China.” “[Taiwan’s] exclusion from the WHA would be detrimental to our collective international efforts to get the pandemic under control and prevent future health crises,” Blinken added.

Blinken’s remarks came just days after he and other G7 foreign ministers issued a joint communique backing Taiwan’s participation in the WHA and calling for a peaceful resolution of cross-Taiwan Strait issues.

Nonetheless, Taiwan was not invited to participate in the 74th WHA later this month, Taiwan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) said on May 11, noting that this is the fifth straight year Taiwan has been excluded. The deadline for online registration for the upcoming virtual WHA meeting was May 10, and Taiwan had not received an invitation.

Responding to Beijing’s claim that the Chinese government had made appropriate arrangements for Taiwan to participate in the WHA under the “One China principle,” MOFA emphasized that only the Taiwan government, duly elected by the people of Taiwan, can represent the country in the international arena.

[1] Focus Taiwan: https://focustaiwan.tw/politics/202105070005
[2] Taipei Times: https://www.taipeitimes.com/News/front/archives/2021/05/09/2003757078
[3] Focus Taiwan: https://focustaiwan.tw/politics/202105110009