Apple Supplier TSMC Responds to US Request for Supply Chain Information

Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co, the world’s largest contract chipmaker, said on Monday it has responded to Washington’s data request related to the global chip shortage.

In an effort to better understand the semiconductor supply chain, a few weeks ago the US Commerce Department asked semiconductor firms to supply it with certain data. Among those companies was Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC), the biggest independent foundry in the world that manufacturers chips for firms like Apple, AMD, Nvidia, MediaTek, and more.

The questionnaire handed out by the US asked the semiconductor companies to disclose information about inventories, backlogs, delivery time, procurement practices, and any measures being taken to increase the output of chips. The US also asked for information relating to each firm’s top customers.

Bloomberg reports that chipmakers in both Taiwan and South Korea (aka TSMC and Samsung) have expressed confidentiality concerns:

The US and Taiwan are working together to secure supply chains, Washington’s envoy to Taipei said, as global chip manufacturers face a looming deadline to meet the Biden administration’s request for company data […]

“The Commerce Department’s request for information is designed to better understand the semiconductor supply chain,” [Sandra] Oudkirk, who is the U.S.’s de facto ambassador in the absence of official ties, said at her first news conference since being appointed in July.

She added that the drive was designed to enable the department make regulations to “improve or alleviate the disruptions to the supply chain” […]

[The call] has faced resistance in Taiwan and South Korea due to concerns over possible leaks of trade secrets […]

South Korea’s industry minister, Moon Sung-wook, indicated local chipmakers were likely to submit minimal data, and Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. said it wouldn’t give away sensitive customer information.

After handing over the requested information, the world’s largest chipmaker said it hadn’t disclosed any customer-related information in response to Washington’s data request to help mitigate the lingering semiconductor shortage that has hit global automakers and electronics suppliers.

US Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo said that the goal of its voluntary request for information is to increase transparency to identify bottlenecks in the global supply chain and predict challenges amid a global semiconductor shortage.

The global chip shortage has harmed several sectors, including cars, computers, phones, and appliances. In April, global tech and automobile executives had a meeting at the White House to discuss solutions for the worldwide chip shortage.

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