Germany sends letter to Taiwan to help ease auto chip shortage

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BERLIN / TAIPEI – Germany has asked Taiwan to convince Taiwanese manufacturers to help reduce the shortage of semiconductor chips in the automotive sector, hampering the fledgling economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.

Automakers around the world are closing assembly lines due to semiconductor supply issues, exacerbated in some cases by the actions of the former Trump administration against major Chinese chip factories.

The shortage affects Volkswagen, Ford, Subaru, Toyota, Nissan, Stellantis and other car manufacturers.

In a letter spotted by Reuters on Sunday, German Economy Minister Peter Altmaier asked his Taiwanese counterpart Wang Mei-hua to address the problem in talks with Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co, the world’s largest chip maker and one of its major suppliers. from Germany.

“I would appreciate if you could take up this issue and underline the importance of additional semiconductor capabilities for the German automotive industry for TSMC,” wrote Altmaier.

Altmaier said the goal was to enable additional capabilities and semiconductor deliveries in the short and medium term. The German auto industry was already in direct talks with TSMC about hiking deliveries, and there were “very constructive” signals from TSMC to fix the problem, he wrote. A spokeswoman for the German Ministry of Economic Affairs said it is closely monitoring the situation and is in discussion with the auto industry about this.


To reduce dependence on Asian suppliers and avoid similar problems in the future, Berlin now plans to increase state aid to boost semiconductor manufacturing capacity in Germany and Europe, the spokeswoman added.

Taiwan’s Ministry of Economy said it had received requests through diplomatic channels to help alleviate the shortage of chips for the auto sector, although it was unaware of Altmaier’s letter. It said it had started talks with domestic chip suppliers in response to requests from other countries, asking them to “provide full assistance.” “The relevant supply and demand situation is also closely linked to automotive chip factories’ plans to reduce off-season inventories,” the ministry said.

TSMC said in a statement that the problem of chip shortage for car companies was very important to them.

“It is our top priority and TSMC is working closely with our automotive customers to resolve the capacity support issues,” he said.