The Biden Administration met virtually with General Motors CEO Mary Barra, Ford CEO Jim Farley and Stellantis CEO Carlos Tavares this week to discuss the impacts of the global semiconductor shortage – but stopped short of committing to help the Detroit Big Three with the situation.
According to The Detroit News, the Big Three are hoping the Biden Administration will set aside a certain portion of chip funding and manufacturing for them as they continue to lose vehicle production to the shortage. President Biden has proposed funneling $50 billion to fund various initiatives listed under the CHIPS For America Act, which would help drive domestic manufacturing and research initiatives for the semiconductor industry. The $50 billion would come out of the $2 trillion infrastructure package his adminsitration proposed in March.
While the president is working to address the chip shortage and boost America’s domestic semiconductor manufacturing capacity, the Biden Administration has indicated privately that it will not give the auto industry “special treatment,” with regard to semiconductor access, the Detroit News reports.
White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said this week’s meeting was held to help the Biden Administration gain a better understanding of the semiconductor shortage, rather than to discuss a long-term solution for the auto industry.
“This isn’t a meeting where we expect a decision or an announcement to come out of, but part of our ongoing engagement and discussion about how to best address this issue,” Psaki said.
The meeting was also attended by the CEOs of major American tech firms, including Dell, HP and Samsung, along with the CEOs of major chip makers such as Intel and Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co.
The Biden Administration seems cagey with regard to giving the auto industry special treatment for semiconductor access, but the chips will be critical for helping the auto industry roll out more electric vehicles. Semiconductors are used to manufacture electronic systems in vehicles such as safety tech, infotainment touchscreens and more, but will take on an even greater role in tech-laden EVs. President Biden plans to sideline $174 billion to promote EV adoption in the United States, $100 billion of which will go toward new consumer rebates for the purchase of new EVs.
Right now, the majority of semiconductor chips are manufactured abroad, mainly in Asian countries like Taiwan, China and Korea.
“I’ve been saying for some time now, China and the rest of the world is not waiting,” Biden said after the meeting this week. “And there’s no reason why Americans should wait. We’re investing aggressively in areas like semiconductors and batteries, that’s what they’re doing and others, so must we.”