Taiwan to cooperate with Eastern European nations on chip production

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They are pursuing agreements with Slovakia, the Czech Republic and Lithuania.

Taiwan is looking at cooperating with three Eastern European countries on semiconductors. This according to a report in Reuters this week,. The report was sourced to a statement by a Taiwanese minister. The move likely to meet with EU approval, as they have been actively seeking to persuade Taiwanese semiconductor firms to manufacture in Europe.

Taiwan is a global player in semiconductor manufacturing. With companies such as Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co Ltd, the island is at the vanguard in efforts to resolve the global chip shortage. The slowdown in the chip supply chain has shut down auto production lines around the world and its impact is now also being felt in consumer electronics.

While TSMC is building a $12 billion chip fabrication plant in the U.S. state of Arizona, it has given no suggestion of interest in a similar facility in Europe, despite EU efforts to spur such investment.

Building on “shared values” of democracy and freedom

Kung Ming-hsin, who heads Taiwan’s National Development Council, told Reuters following his visit to Slovakia, the Czech Republic and Lithuania last month that all three countries had mentioned they wanted to work on chips with the island.

Taiwan will set up working groups with the three countries to work out how to cooperate on chips, while Taiwan will also give scholarships for technical training, he added. “The whole semiconductor supply chain is enormous. Many countries can play different roles,” Kung said. Taiwan has been keen to express its gratitude to the three countries for their donations of COVID-19 vaccines, and also, for Lithuania and the Czech Republic’s support as Taiwan faced growing political pressure from China.

Neither the EU nor its member states have formal diplomatic ties with Chinese-claimed and democratically-ruled Taiwan. Still, Taipei has sought to bolster its relations with the bloc by stressing their shared values of freedom and democracy. The European Commission has proposed legislation to boost chip production, and has angled for Taiwan’s involvement. Kung said it would be hard for Europe to do that on its own. “So they hope to cooperate with Taiwan,” he added.