Germany urges Taiwan to help ease auto chip shortage

(Reuters) – Germany has asked Taiwan to persuade Taiwanese manufacturers to help ease a shortage of semiconductor chips in the auto sector which is hampering its fledgling economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.

Automakers around the world are shutting assembly lines due to problems in the delivery of semiconductors, which in some cases have been exacerbated by the former Trump administration’s actions against key Chinese chip factories.

The shortage has affected Volkswagen 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 Automobiles and other car makers.

In a letter seen by Reuters on Sunday, German Economy Minister Peter Altmaier asked his Taiwanese counterpart Wang Mei-hua to address the issue in talks with Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co Ltd (TSMC) 2330.TW, the world’s largest contract chipmaker and one of Germany’s main suppliers.

“I would be pleased if you could take on this matter and underline the importance of additional semiconductor capacities for the German automotive industry to TSMC,” Altmaier wrote.

Altmaier said the aim was to enable additional capacities and deliveries of semiconductors in the short and medium term.

The German automobile industry was already in direct talks with TSMC about hiking deliveries and there had been “very constructive” signals from TSMC to solve the problem, he wrote.

A German economy ministry spokeswoman said it was monitoring the situation very closely and that it was in talks on the issue with the car industry.

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