If Taiwan is safe, chip supply chains will be secure, says Taiwan minister

FILE PHOTO: Taiwan Economy Minister Wang Mei-hua speaks during an interview with Reuters in Taipei

By David Shepardson and David Brunnstrom

WASHINGTON (Reuters) -Taiwanese Minister for Economic Affairs Wang Mei-Hua said on a visit to the United States on Tuesday that if Taiwan remains safe, global supply chains of vital semiconductors would also be secure.

Wang made the comments at an event hosted by Washington’s Center for Strategic and International Studies, as China steps up military pressure on Taiwan, which produces the vast majority of the world’s most advanced computer chips.

Wang is in the United States this week to respond to what her office called “concerns” about supply chains and geopolitical issues and to visit U.S. tech firms that are major customers of Taiwanese semiconductor companies.

She said Taiwan is keen for more cooperation between Taiwan and the United States to ensure resilient supply chains.

Wang said that given Taiwan’s key role in the high-tech sector, China would also be impacted should it interfere in Taiwan.

She said that if the world’s largest contract chipmaker, Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company Ltd (TSMC), were to be taken over by military force, this would stop its operations. Wang also cited U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken as saying that if anything were to happen to Taiwan the impact on the global economy would be “devastating.”

“I would like to put it in another way,” she said. “If Taiwan is safe, the global supply chain will also be secure. This is in the world’s greatest interest for Taiwan to work with U.S. and other allies to maintain the most efficient production.”

Wang said Taiwan appreciated bipartisan support in the U.S. Congress for strengthened Taiwan-U.S. relations and reiterated comments from Taipei on U.S. legislation to cut China off from certain semiconductor chips made with U.S. equipment, saying that Taiwanese firms would follow international regulations.

Asked whether Taiwan was concerned that U.S. government subsidies to encourage reshoring of chip manufacturing could lessen U.S. reliance on Taiwan, she said the Taiwanese semiconductor supply chain was “very, very concrete” having been built up over more than 40 years.

“We have a very huge supply chain in Taiwan, that is difficult to duplicate, or difficult to replace.” she said.

(Reporting by David Shepardson and David Brunnstrom; Editing by Jonathan Oatis and Josie Kao)