The US Commerce Department is pressing Taiwanese semiconductor manufacturers to prioritise the needs of US automakers as the global shortage continues to affect car production worldwide.
Taiwan is a leading global manufacturer of semiconductors with companies such as Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing (TSMC) among the largest suppliers to the global automotive industry.
Commerce secretary Gina Raimondo, in response to a question from a General Motors executive at an event hosted by the Council of the Americas, said "we're working hard to see if we can get the Taiwanese, and TSMC, which is a big company there, to prioritise the needs of our auto companies since there are so many American jobs on the line".
Raimondo also said additional investment was needed to produce more semiconductors in the US and "critical supply chains in other allied countries also need re-shoring".
She pointed out "not a day goes by that we don't push on this", adding "the medium- and long-term solution would be simply to make more chips in America".
Taiwan economy minister Wang Mei-hua said many countries had sought help from the government and TSMC but the company "has a commercial mechanism and must comply with commercial norms".
TSMC this week confirmed that tackling the global shortage remained its top priority. The company said in a statement: "TSMC has been working with all parties to alleviate the automotive chip supply shortage. We understand it is a shared concern of the worldwide automotive industry."
The company last month said it had been working with customers since January to reallocate more capacity to support the automotive industry but the supply shortage worsened due to a huge winter storm in Texas and a fire at a semiconductor plant in Japan.
TSMC CEO CC Wei last month said he expected the chip shortage for its automotive clients to be greatly reduced from the third quarter.