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UPDATE 2-U.S. thanks Taiwan for support for auto chips in key trade meeting

· 02/05/2021 00:02
UPDATE 2-U.S. thanks Taiwan for support for auto chips in key trade meeting

Adds details

- The United States thanked Taiwan on Friday for help on resolving an auto chip shortage that has snarled production, but there was no discussion on prioritising the making of these chips, Taiwan Economy Minister Wang Mei-hua said after a high-level meeting.

Car factories around the world are shutting assembly lines because of the chip shortages, which in some cases have been exacerbated by the former U.S. administration's actions against Chinese chip factories.

Taiwan, home to tech firms like Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co Ltd (TSMC) 2330.TWTSM.N, the world's largest contract chip maker, has become front and centre of efforts to resolve the shortage.

"The U.S. side thanked us for our help on this," Wang told reporters of the meeting she was said was attended by senior executives from companies including TSMC and Qualcomm Inc QCOM.O.

But she said the focus of the talks was not on auto chips and the issue of whether to prioritise their production was not brought up.

Wang said TSMC also discussed its planned new $12 billion plant in the U.S. state of Arizona, although she did not give details.

TSMC did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the meeting.

The auto chip shortage has affected Volkswagen AG VOWG_p.DE, Ford Motor Co F.N, Subaru Corp 7270.T, Toyota Motor Corp 7203.T, Nissan Motor Co Ltd 7201.T, Fiat Chrysler and other car makers. nL4N2JJ0JF

The closed-door event, joined by the Taiwan minister and what she described as "very senior U.S. officials", is the first announced high-level exchange between Taiwan and the Biden administration, which took office on Jan. 20.

The State Department said last week that Deputy Assistant Secretary for Trade Policy and Negotiations Matt Murray would take part.

The de facto U.S. ambassador to Taiwan, Brent Christensen, did attend, and was seen getting into his car after the meeting was over.

Despite a lack of formal diplomatic ties, the United States is Chinese-claimed Taiwan's most important international backer and arms supplier.


(Reporting by Ben Blanchard; Editing by Kim Coghill and Raju Gopalakrishnan)

((ben.blanchard@thomsonreuters.com;))