Biden aide Brian Deese asks Taiwan to help resolve auto chips shortage

Mr Brian Deese has sought the Taiwanese government's help resolving a global semiconductor shortage. PHOTO: REUTERS

WASHINGTON (BLOOMBERG) - President Joe Biden's top economic adviser, Mr Brian Deese, has sought the Taiwanese government's help resolving a global semiconductor shortage that's idling US car manufacturing plants, according to a letter reviewed by Bloomberg News.

In the letter, Mr Deese thanked Taiwan's minister of economic affairs, Ms Wang Mei-hua, for her personal engagement on the microchips shortage and relayed concerns from US automotive companies.

Top White House officials are engaged in trying to resolve the shortage, which has presented an early challenge to Mr Biden's administration. Mr Deese, the director of the National Economic Council, as well as National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan are personally involved in the effort to address bottlenecks in auto companies' supply chains, a White House spokesman said.

The spokesman asked not to be identified by name because the talks have been private.

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

The Biden administration has also asked US 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 added.

The formal outreach to Taiwan follows meetings between Mr Deese and Mr Sullivan and US auto companies and their suppliers. The auto industry is leaning on the White House to pressure foreign chipmakers and their governments to allocate supplies to the US.

"We think those are reasonable things for the government to ask," said Mr Matt Blunt, president of the American Automotive Policy Council, which lobbies for Ford Motor Co, General Motors Co and Stellantis (formerly Fiat Chrysler Automobiles).

"This is going to be a problem for the first half of the year."

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