Opening Remarks by AIT Director Sandra Oudkirk at an Industry Forum
on U.S.-Taiwan Cooperation on Global Semiconductor Supply Chain Resilience
April 29, 2022
(As Prepared for Delivery)
Minister Wang, distinguished guests and friends, good morning 早安!大家好!
It is my pleasure to be here with you today to discuss global supply chain resilience. AIT seeks to use today’s discussion under the auspices of the U.S.-Taiwan Technology Trade and Investment Collaboration or TTIC to seek constructive approaches to address the disruptions we have all faced in recent years.
As AIT Director, promoting global supply chain resilience and deepening our economic ties are two of my top priorities.
AIT is committed to working with counterparts here in Taiwan to advance our shared vision for an Indo-Pacific region that is free, open, resilient, and inclusive. Resiliency is key to today’s discussion, and Taiwan’s role in promoting global supply chain resilience has shifted dramatically since I first lived here in the early nineties. The semiconductor industry in particular commands a great deal of attention in an increasingly complex regional and global landscape.
Events have converged in recent years that have only intensified the importance of the semiconductor industry and Taiwan’s role in it.
First, the People’s Republic of China’s increasingly aggressive behavior and its alignment with Russia have elicited a comprehensive response from the United States and our partners, including Taiwan.
Second, the pandemic has both increased demand and stressed the global trading system. While Taiwan’s semiconductor companies continue to churn out chips at an increasingly fast pace, logistical challenges have stymied efforts to keep up. We’ve all learned about the long supply chains stretching from the fab to the showroom. We have made improvements, but room exists for further progress.
And finally, as “smart” solutions and the internet of things begin to impact the communications, transportation, defense, energy, healthcare, and education sectors, the design, fabrication, and packaging of semiconductors that takes place here in Taiwan only increases in importance.
Only by building resilient supply chains will we be able to foster broad-based growth. But we have a lot of work to do. The results of a recent Department of Commerce semiconductor RFI showed that over the last two years the median inventory of chips in the United States has fallen from 40 days to fewer than five days.
It is no wonder that you, Minister Wang, and Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo prioritized the semiconductor industry when establishing the TTIC. Beyond semiconductors, the other four priority TTIC sectors — 5G, electric vehicles, cybersecurity, and sustainable energy — all depend heavily on the research, development, and fabrication of increasingly sophisticated chips.
The world needs bold leadership to address disruptions in supply chains; U.S.-Taiwan partnership on strengthening supply chains is a great example of that sort of leadership. As Asia’s “Silicon Island,” Taiwan is a pivotal node of the globe’s semiconductor ecosystem and a cutting-edge pioneer in emerging technologies.
We deeply appreciate the willingness of Taiwanese companies to confront these challenges head on. You stepped up production when the auto industry sent out a call for help; you have worked with educational institutions to ensure that we are preparing the next generation of engineers; you have partnered with American companies to achieve economies of scale and identify areas for collaboration; and you have kept political and industry leaders abreast of your challenges and progress.
The TSMC investment in the United States is a tangible example of what partners can do when we work together. Since then, a flurry of major investments and expansions in the U.S. have been announced by the likes of Global Foundries, Texas Instruments, Samsung, and Intel, not to mention the many suppliers to TSMC that recognize the importance of manufacturing critical semiconductor products in America.
This summer AIT is organizing a delegation of Taiwan semiconductor ecosystem firms to visit Phoenix. We anticipate this new cluster of U.S.-Taiwan joint innovation will only continue to grow. There we will link Taiwan firms to other potential customers beyond TSMC and introduce them to local university and training partners who are developing programs to ensure a steady flow of talent. We anticipate the visit to Phoenix will inspire those who have not yet committed to investing to follow in the footsteps of the many Taiwanese companies that are now building the supply chains in the United States needed to ensure TSMC’s success.
Minister John Deng and I will then meet the delegation in Washington for the 2022 SelectUSA Summit.
Only through industry cooperation will we begin to address the global supply chain disruptions and build resilient economies in Taiwan and the United States. Minister Wang, I commend you for assembling here today the global leaders in an industry that is essential to the workings of a modern society.
The TTIC framework is a great example of our focus on policy alignment with partners such as Taiwan. U.S. support for Taiwan remains rock-solid, principled, and bipartisan, as evidenced by the recent visit to Taipei of a high-level senior congressional delegation.
I am very much looking forward to participating in the SelectUSA Investment Summit in June and anticipate seeing many of you there!
TTIC will bring more opportunities in the months to come for continued strategic industry collaboration. I am confident that the many engagements now planned, as well as actionable ideas that will emerge from today’s discussion, will deliver results that demonstrate our commitment to this partnership.
Thank you for your leadership, and I wish you all a successful meeting today.