Tuesday, March 21, 2023

Biden begins Asia tour with global issues and tech on the agenda

PYEONGTAEK, South Korea ( Associated Press) — President Joe Biden on Friday began his Asia visit by highlighting computer chip shortages that have battered the world economy, visiting a Samsung computer chip plant that provides $5,000 for Korean electronics. 17 Billion will serve as the model for the semiconductor factory. The company plans to open in Texas.

The visit to Samsung was one of Biden’s major domestic priorities: increasing the supply of computer chips. Semiconductor shortages last year hit the availability of autos, kitchen appliances and other goods, leading to high inflation around the world and crippling public acceptance of Biden among US voters.

Biden will tackle a range of foreign policy issues during his five-day visit to South Korea and Japan, but he also clearly designed an itinerary with the concerns of his domestic audience in mind. The president said the Texas plant would add 3,000 jobs and that construction would involve union labor.

“These tiny chips,” Biden said in remarks at the plant, “are the key to propelling us into the next era of humanity’s technological evolution.”

Biden was greeted at the South Korean plant by the country’s new president, Eun Suk Yeol, and Samsung Electronics Vice Chairman Lee Jae-yong. Yoon is a political newcomer who became president, his first elected office, a little more than a week ago. He campaigned to take a tough stand against North Korea and strengthen the 70-year alliance with the US

Yoon said in a speech before Biden spoke that he expected the countries’ partnership to develop into an “economic and security alliance based on cooperation in advanced technology and supply chain.”

The Chip Plant showcased the unique nature of construction as visitors were required to don lab coats and blue booties to help keep the facility clean. Biden and Yoon, who were not wearing protective clothing, watched a display of machinery.

At one point during his tour, Biden got an in-depth explanation of the KLA inspection system on the floor of the Samsung plant. The California-based company is a major supplier to Samsung’s semiconductor operations. After a worker named Peter explains the ins and outs of the machinery, Biden quips, “Don’t forget to give up,” when he returns home to the United States.

Part of the computer chip shortage is a result of strong demand as much of the world emerged from the coronavirus pandemic. But due to the coronavirus outbreak and other challenges, semiconductor plants also closed down. US government officials have predicted that chip production will not be at the level they want until early 2023.

According to the Semiconductor Industry Association, global computer chip sales during the first three months of this year totaled $151.7 billion, up 23% from the same period in 2021.

More than 75% of global chip production comes from Asia. It’s a potential vulnerability the US hopes to protect through talks in Congress through greater domestic production and a $52 billion government investment in the region.

The risk of a Chinese invasion against Taiwan could potentially cut off the flow of high-end computer chips that are needed for military gear as well as consumer goods in the US. Similarly, North Korea has tested ballistic missiles amid the coronavirus outbreak, a potential risk to South Korea’s manufacturing sector should brinksmanship escalate.

In terms of chip production, China leads the global pack with a 24% share, followed by Taiwan (21%), South Korea (19%) and Japan (13%). According to the Semiconductor Industry Association, only 10% of chips are made in the US.

Samsung announced the plant in Taylor, Texas in November 2021. It expects to start operations in the second half of 2024. The South Korean electronics giant chose the site based on several factors, including government incentives and “readiness and stability”. local infrastructure.

Semiconductor companies have announced nearly $80 billion in US investments by 2025, the White House said in a fact sheet released Friday. That amount includes a $20 billion expansion for Intel’s plant outside Columbus, Ohio, up to $30 billion by Texas Instruments, a $1 trillion expansion. Investments by Wolfspeed and Global Foundries and SK Group in North Carolina.


Nation World News Desk
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