EU-Taiwan Semiconductor Cooperation: Lopsided Priorities?
Johannes Nordin and Larissa Stünkel
The European Union (EU) seeks de facto closer cooperation on chip production with Taiwan. This was underlined during Foreign Minister Joseph Wu’s Europe Tour in 2021 and by a more recent EU Parliament delegation to Taipei amid efforts to push for a bilateral investment agreement. Having announced the Chips Act in February 2022, the EU has since held its first high-level talks with a delegation from Taiwan’s Ministry of Economy. Meanwhile, reports emerged in 2021 that the world’s largest chip manufacturer –TSMC – has been in contact with European officials about setting up local production facilities in the EU. Despite these signs of progress, it appears the EU lacks sufficient understanding of their Taiwanese counterparts’ ambitions and priorities. Besides Brussels underestimating the challenge of setting up foundries and overplaying the need to concentrate on cutting-edge chip manufacturing, the EU’s strategic ambitions are at odds with both the Taiwanese government and the islands’ tech giants. This issue brief critically examines the prospects of EU-Taiwan cooperation on semiconductors and analyzes how Taiwan and the EU can envision a concentrated partnership.
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