The world’s top chipmakers resist Biden’s offer for supply chain data
United Microelectronics Corp., the smaller counterpart, declined to comment on its response to the US query, although CFO Liu Chi-tung said Bloomberg News that the company will protect non-public customer information.
Meanwhile, the South Korean Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy released a statement on Wednesday expressing concerns about the scope of the US request. Other media including Korea JoongAng Daily also cited unidentified people at local chipmakers saying they may have trouble complying with the requests.
The potential deadlock comes as chip shortages go from bad to worse. Industry lead times – the gap between ordering semiconductors and receiving delivery – increased for the ninth consecutive month to an average of 21.7 weeks in September, according to Susquehanna Financial Group. This is by far the longest since the company started tracking data in 2017.
In the U.S. questionnaire, chipmakers were asked to comment on inventory, delays, delivery times, sourcing practices, and what they were doing to increase production. The trade also asks for information on the main customers of each product. But the department realized that many struggle with the questionnaire, and it is preparing an FAQ to help companies answer, TSMC’s Fang said.
“If the United States is looking to resolve supply chain issues, we’ll see how we can best help them,” Fang said. “We have done a lot to help, including increasing the production of automotive chips and prioritizing automotive customers to some extent.”