(Adds remarks from Raimondo, details of White House meeting)
By David Shepardson
WASHINGTON, Sept. 23 (Reuters) – US Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo on Thursday said it was time to be “aggressive” to tackle the worsening semiconductor chip shortage that has driven automakers and others cut back on production and affected thousands of American workers.
“It’s time to get more aggressive. The situation is not improving, in some ways it is getting worse,” Raimondo told Reuters in an interview. She said that a voluntary request for information issued this week on chips to the industry “will give us more information on the supply chain, and the aim is to increase transparency so that we can try to identify where (are) the bottlenecks, then anticipate the challenges. ”
She warned that if companies don’t respond to the voluntary demand, “then we have other tools in our toolbox that require them to provide us with data. I hope we don’t. But if we do. we must, we will.
The White House was hosting a pair of virtual semiconductor meetings on Thursday
Automakers from General Motors Co to Toyota Motor Corp have cut their production and sales forecasts due to the chip shortage, made worse by a resurgence of COVID-19 in major Asian semiconductor production centers.
“In reality, there is no quick and easy fix,” Raimondo said. “We will manage this until next year.”
In June, the Senate voted to approve $ 52 billion to boost US production of semiconductors.
“Basically the solution is we need to make more chips, and we need to make more chips in America, which is why the House cannot pass the Chips Act fast enough, as far as I’m concerned. ‘money, we have to make more chips, “Raimondo said.
She added that she was “optimistic that we can make incremental progress over the next few months” by increasing supply chain transparency. “There’s a lack of confidence in the supply chain. There’s probably oversupply going, you know. There could be… vendors who send chips here because they can make more money. , instead of here. “
Companies attending the White House virtual meetings include Detroit’s Big Three automakers, as well as Apple Inc, Daimler AG, BMW AG, GlobalFoundries, Micron, Microsoft Corp, Samsung, TSMC, and Intel Corp.
A group representing major automakers said the industry and semiconductor companies “are working diligently to solve the global chip shortage as quickly and efficiently as possible … and to build transparency and resilience in the supply chain. ‘supply of automotive semiconductors’. (Report by David Shepardson in Washington edited by Leslie Adler and Matthew Lewis)