By on February 18, 2021

Automakers around the globe have been issuing warnings for weeks that the semiconductor shortage will eventually result in fewer cars and leaner profitability reports. But the absent chips are affecting just about every industry producing modern connected devices, creating fears that electronic prices could skyrocket as availability dwindles. Lockdowns effectively crippled semiconductor supply lines right as demand peaked and everyone is starting to get a little worried about how it’s going to impact production in other industries.

The White House is reportedly taking steps to mitigate the issue by tasking Brian Deese (Director of the National Economic Council) and Jake Sullivan (National Security Adviser) with coming up with a solution. It’s also asking embassies to assist chip suppliers around the world however possible and hopefully suss out a way to stop the global shortage. Meanwhile, Deese and Sullivan will be focusing the brunt of their efforts on Taiwan.

Having already discussed the issue with American automakers, the White House’s next phase looks to involve gently pressuring Asian chip suppliers to prioritize U.S. businesses. Semiconductors are overwhelmingly manufactured by companies based in China, Japan, Singapore, South Korea, and of course Taiwan.

According to Bloomberg, Deese issued a letter to Taiwan’s Minister of Economic Affairs, Wang Mei-hua, to request cooperation in dealing with supply chain issues. However, Wang told reporters on Thursday that she hadn’t received any such letter — noting that she was still busy dealing with the global chip shortage.

But there are factors making this whole issue a lot harder than its needs to be for both parties. China has continued to escalate military and diplomatic pressure against the democratic island nation and demand for semiconductors isn’t going to go down unless the whole world opts to use fewer electronic devices moving forward. Neither matter has an obvious solution and both seem like they’re poised to come to a head within the next few years.

From Bloomberg:

Taiwan is home to the largest semiconductor manufacturing industry in the world, and also relies on U.S. weapons to defend against China, which views the island as part of its territory and has threatened to use force if Taipei moves toward formal independence.

The Biden administration has also asked U.S. embassies around the world to identify how foreign countries and companies that produce chips can help address the global shortage and to map the steps taken to date, the spokesperson said.

Expect tough times for the automotive industry regardless of how well the plan works, however. Automakers have known about the chip shortage since December 2020 while the U.S. government was distracted with infighting and still hamstrung by pandemic restrictions. Most car builders have since suggested major declines in output for the first part of 2021. This week, IHS Markit likewise estimated almost 1 million fewer passenger vehicles will be produced in the first quarter and just keeps rising.

[Image: Orhan Cam/Shutterstock]

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33 Comments on “White House Presses Taiwan On Semiconductor Shortage...”

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    Delusion is about to meet Reality.

    • 0 avatar

      Yes indeed, Biden’s wokesters are between a R.O.C. and a hard place. They’ve all but ceded Taiwan independence but now they expect a cooperative spirit from the people they threw under the bus?

      Then there are the issues of the construction time and the truly difficult nature of modern semiconductor fabs. Thanks to the previous guy in the White House and Tim Apple, TSMC is building a yuuuge ($12B) fab in Arizona, but it won’t be online for several more years.

  • avatar

    Chip shortage, all I read and hear about is chip shortage. Google it and you get chip shortage.

    Hell, it must be a specific type of chip that everyone making cars uses, not just some generic blob. Anyone know?

    So Biden is saying what to Taiwan? Send more of this magic chip to the USA or maybe we’ll be lax on our defense agreement? One would have thought this to be a commercial matter. After all, we’re constantly told by the ruling monopolists that a free market solves everything. For them, anyway and who else counts?

  • avatar

    Enough talk already. I heard that the East Wing of the White House is being converted to a clean room, and we can expect wafers within the next 100 days.

  • avatar

    Soon China will snatch Taiwan right from under Sleepy Joe’s nose and forget the chips.
    But honestly, if I was China, I would thing if I want to buy more US debt. Although, may be, Xi thinks that we’re not in debt enough to be totally helpless.

    • 0 avatar

      Tsss, don’t wake him up, don’t wake up American Superhero…

    • 0 avatar

      This is so sad, I’m sure it’s all Joe’s fault, or Obama’s.
      But in some other happy news, Rush Limbaugh died!
      I look forward to visiting his tomb/urinal to pay my respects.

      • 0 avatar
        Art Vandelay

        Your tolerance is showing @imagefront. I know, there is always some reason that it is ok for people of your persuasion to feel the way you do, but voice your pleasure that Ruth Bader Ginsberg is no longer on the bench (not I didn’t say pleasure in her being dead), and you are a terrible person.

        Know what, you too are a terrible person.

        • 0 avatar

          Meanwhile in the world. Facebook started war on Australia. At least Australia has battle cruisers and they can come close enough to launch their cruise missiles at Facebook fortifications.

          • 0 avatar

            ART > You and I have locked antlers in the past. Regardless. Well said.

            People that HATE Rush are the same that hate Fox News. They never watched / listened for 1 hour on 3 different days. (fair sample)
            Nor can they provide 3 examples of perceived lies. Or they twist what was said to a point that clear fair logic cannot be applied to what they say.

            They hate him/ it because of what the media says about it /him.
            Not smart
            Not fair.

      • 0 avatar

        “Don’t underestimate Joe’s ability to f*ck things up” – Barak (Barry) Obama

      • 0 avatar

        Imagefont – If I were you, I’d ensure that after I’d passed on that I’d be wearing a raincoat when being lowered in the ground. There might be someone pis**ng on your grave also.

      • 0 avatar


        Time for the new oval office installation to show his stuff! One thing we know for sure: it’s all Trump’s fault:-)

        Seems like China would destroy us in a heartbeat if they just stopped sending us all the manufactured goods and food.

        IMHO it’s over-the-top stupid to have so much of what you need to have a decent life coming from, and, therefore, controlled by, a country that hates you. But, old sleepy will fix it; he’ll eliminate more of what’s left of US production and employment.

        To get cars back in production sooner just rip out all those ipads in the dash and the snooping circuitry.

        • 0 avatar


          don’t worry about food. Bill Gates will feed you synthetic beef.

          • 0 avatar


            I hope his synthetic beef is better than his operating systems. Isn’t the synthetic beef manufactured from recycled windows CD’s?

          • 0 avatar
            Art Vandelay

            Now now @old_wrx, The general chittyness of Windows has enabled me to make a nice living. Having said that, no way would I ingest anything he endorses.

          • 0 avatar

            “don’t worry about food. Bill Gates will feed you synthetic beef.”

            When it goes bad, it turns blue with streaks of white. The Blue Steak of Death.

          • 0 avatar

            “Bill Gates will feed you synthetic beef.”

            Looks like we’ve found the “right’s” new boogeyman since tRump’s single term flushes QAnon nutjob conspiracies down the crapper.

        • 0 avatar

          China actually imports food.

          • 0 avatar

            Art Vandelay,

            Reminds me how many moons ago (like 1989) I was running high end CAD (CADDS 4X) on a Sun box under Unix (SunOS) and across the room I was running ANSYS FEA on a PC under DOS. In order to get the DOS box to run ANSYS I had to use a DOS extender (Phar Lap) and play endlessly with the infamous autoexec.bat and config.sys to get the @^*#$ thing to run. I have to wonder how many billions of dollars all that screwing around trying to get DOS to run big stuff cost companies. While all the time, across the room the Sun box was just quietly running big stuff.

            Now, I’ve dumped windows (because they dumped windows 7) and am running Linux very happily.

          • 0 avatar

            You mean Solaris?

  • avatar

    Rare earth metals is an area where China has a big advantage over North America.
    Corporate greed pushed offshoring to “cheap” amoral countries like China and now they are a superpower. As the Bible says, “for what so ever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.”

  • avatar
    schmitt trigger

    In the search for higher profits, the West in general has relinquished semiconductor leadership to the Far East.

    And as a previous post indicated, one reaps what one sows.

  • avatar
    Daniel J

    Gee, maybe we can make chips here?

    Oh, but intel:

  • avatar

    Another reason to keep using what we have instead of buying a new, shiny object because reasons. Let’s maintain what we already have before we go out and buy garbage we don’t need.

    Reduced consumption is a good thing, and I’m not even talking about the materials cost or environment. Pretty sure happiness isn’t found on the latest phone screen or insipidly large infotainment touchscreen. We should stop looking for it there.

    Oh yeah, and right to repair legislation would help this effort, too.

    • 0 avatar


      “Reduced consumption is a good thing”

      The environmental types do mention “reduce.” But, of course, they fail to mention things like build to last, repair, rebuild. I guess those things wouldn’t funnel money into the right pockets.

      • 0 avatar

        “The environmental types do mention “reduce.” But, of course, they fail to mention things like build to last, repair, rebuild. I guess those things wouldn’t funnel money into the right pockets.”

        You seem to have missed the middle word in the “reduce, REUSE, recycle” slogan you were referring to.

        If you’re going to yell at environmentalists about the “reduce, reuse, recycle” slogan, please remember to read all three words.

  • avatar

    Due to prolonged outsourcing and lack of investment in technology, America is becoming more reliant on other nations for its economic survival. The US has to commit more money to chip fabrication development. The issue of America’s inability to fabricate chips has become a national embarrassment.

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