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US says firms may meet chip data request amid Taiwan, South Korea concerns

Written by The Frontier Post

WASHINGTON (Reuters): The U.S. Commerce Department said on Thursday it had received indications from companies such as Intel and Infineon that they would cooperate with a voluntary request for data on the chips crisis, but that the final number and quality of responses would determine whether it would need to make it compulsory.

The White House made the request to automakers, chip companies and others last month saying that the information would boost supply chain transparency and help understand where bottlenecks exist. The deadline for firms to respond is Nov. 8.

“Companies including Intel, GM, Infineon, and SK Hynix, have indicated that they plan to be very forthcoming with their data. We are very appreciative of their efforts and encourage other companies to follow suit,” a Commerce spokesperson told Reuters.

“The (request for information) is voluntary but this information is crucial to addressing concerns about transparency in the supply chain. Whether or not we have to use compulsory measures depends on how many companies engage and the quality of the data shared.”

Intel, GM, Infineon and SK Hynix did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

The request has caused concern in Taiwan that companies such as Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co Ltd (TSMC) , the world’s largest contract chipmaker and a major Apple Inc (AAPL.O) supplier, would have to hand over sensitive data. TSMC said earlier this month that it would not leak any sensitive company information. read more

South Korea’s trade ministry has also expressed concern over the request.

“The scope of the requested data is vast and a number of operational secrets are included, which is a big concern in South Korea,” it said in an Oct. 6 statement.

However, South Korean trade minister Moon Sung-wook told a parliament committee on Thursday that companies were preparing to review and submit data that can be provided without violating contractual confidentiality provisions or domestic laws.

Automakers from General Motors Co (GM.N) to Toyota Motor Corp (7203.T) to French carmaker Renault (RENA.PA) have slashed output and sales forecasts due to scarce chip supplies, made worse by a COVID-19 resurgence in key Asian semiconductor production hubs.

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