US, Malaysia to sign cooperation deal on supply chain improvements

The agreement focuses on semiconductor and manufacturing sector supply chains.
The agreement focuses on semiconductor and manufacturing sector supply chains.PHOTO: REUTERS

KUALA LUMPUR (REUTERS) - The United States and Malaysia plan to sign a cooperation agreement by early next year towards improving transparency, resilience and security in the semiconductor and manufacturing sector supply chains, the two countries said on Thursday (Nov 18).

It comes as Malaysia seeks to tackle a shortage in semiconductor chips after supplies were disrupted due to curbs imposed to stem a surge in Covid-19 cases this year.

Malaysia's chip assembly industry, accounting for more than a tenth of a global trade worth over US$20 billion (S$27 billion), has warned that shortages will last at least two years, even as some easing is expected towards the end of this year.

"Given Malaysia's critical role in global supply chains for semiconductors, electronics, health products, and other key goods, this announcement is an important first step in collaborating on current and long-term supply chain challenges for both our nations and the global economy," said a joint statement.

The announcement was made during a visit to Malaysia by US Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo, who together with Malaysian International Trade and Industry Minister Azmin Ali met semiconductor industry representatives on Thursday.