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Taiwan Awaits US Decision on Extending Chip Equipment Export Exemptions to China

The Minister of Economy in Taiwan disclosed today, on October 12, that the island nation is in a state of anticipation, awaiting a crucial decision from the United States government. The decision in question pertains to whether Taiwanese chip manufacturers will be granted exemptions to export U.S. chip production equipment to their factories in China.

This development comes in the backdrop of a significant move by the U.S. government in October. President Joe Biden’s administration issued comprehensive export control regulations, which encompass a range of measures aimed at restricting China’s access to certain semiconductors that are produced using U.S. equipment, regardless of where in the world these chips are manufactured. The overarching goal of these measures is to hinder China’s technological advancements and military capabilities.

In contrast, the South Korean government made an announcement this week indicating that technology giants Samsung Electronics and SK Hynix were permitted to ship U.S. chipmaking equipment to their Chinese factories indefinitely, without needing to seek additional permission from the United States.

Speaking to reporters in Taipei, Taiwan’s Minister of Economy stated, “Whether we receive the same treatment as Samsung and SK Hynix depends on the decision from the U.S. government.”

Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. (TSMC), the world’s largest contract chip manufacturer, had previously revealed that it was granted a one-year U.S. license to produce less advanced 28nm chips at its factory in Nanjing, China.

Minister Wang added, “TSMC has already received the one-year approval, and now we will have to patiently await the U.S. government’s decision on whether to further relax the measures.”

As of now, TSMC has not provided an official response regarding the situation.

The uncertainty surrounding the extension of the waiver on exports of U.S. chipmaking equipment to China has been a topic of considerable speculation, with many observers anticipating that the United States will renew the exemption for South Korean chipmakers.

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