WASHINGTON -- The Biden administration is pressuring companies involved in the semiconductor supply chain to be more transparent as the global chips shortage continues to wreak havoc across many industries, officials said.
Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo and National Economic Council Director Brian Deese convened several companies Thursday to discuss how to respond more rapidly to shutdowns around the world, brought about by the spread of the coronavirus, and what comes next for legislation to finance domestic manufacturing that’s lingered on Capitol Hill for months.
Representatives of companies including the Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co., Samsung Electronics Co., Apple Inc., Intel Corp., General Motors, Ford Motor and Stellantis were expected to attend, according to people familiar with the planning.
Raimondo said it is time to get "aggressive" in addressing the worsening semiconductor chip shortage that has caused automakers and others to cut production and impacted thousands of U.S. workers.
"It’s time to get more aggressive. The situation is not getting better, in some ways it is getting worse,” Raimondo told Reuters in an interview.
She said a voluntary request for information issued on chips to industry this week "will give us more information about the supply chain, and the goal is to increase transparency so we can try to identify where the bottlenecks (are) and then predict challenges."
She warned if companies did not answer the voluntary request "then we have other tools in our tool box that require them to give us data. I hope we don't get there. But if we have to we will."
The shortages have frozen production and dampened sales in a variety of businesses, from cars to laptops.
This was the third such meeting to bring together various industries, from chips producers to users, and the administration’s message continues to be the same as in previous sessions. Raimondo and other officials have emphasized that the private sector must step up and provide more transparency if the government is to successfully address the shortage in the medium term.
Now, however, the administration seems to be heightening the pressure on companies, many of whom have been reluctant to provide information detailing their supply-and-demand structures.