US President Joe Biden kicks off his Asia trip in South Korea with a focus on the computer chip shortage that has hit the global economy, touring a Samsung plant that will serve as a model for a semiconductor factory of 17,000 million dollars that the Korean electronics company plans to open in Texas.
Friday’s visit is a nod to one of Biden’s top domestic priorities of increasing the supply of computer chips. Semiconductor shortages last year hit the availability of cars, appliances and other goods, leading to higher inflation around the world and crippling public approval of Biden among American voters.
Biden will grapple with a multitude of foreign policy issues during a five-day visit to South Korea and Japan, but he has also crafted an itinerary clearly aimed at addressing the concerns of his hometown audience.
Speaking about the presidential trip aboard the Air Force OneWhite House National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan said Samsung’s investment in Texas will mean “good-paying jobs for Americans, and more importantly, it will mean more resilience in the supply chain.”
South Korean President receives Biden at Samsung plant
Biden was greeted at the South Korean plant by the country’s new president, Yoon Suk Yeol, and Samsung Electronics Vice President Lee Jae-yong. Yoon is a political newcomer who became president, his first elected position, just over a week ago. He campaigned to take a tougher stance against North Korea and strengthen the 70-year-old alliance with the US.
Some of the computer chip shortage is the result of strong demand as much of the world emerged from the coronavirus pandemic. But coronavirus outbreaks and other challenges have also caused semiconductor plants to close. US government officials have estimated that chip production will not be at the levels they would like until early 2023.
Global sales of computer chips totaled 151.7 billion during the first three months of this year, a 23% increase from the same period in 2021, according to the Semiconductor Industry Association.
More than 75% of the world’s chip production comes from Asia. That’s a potential vulnerability the US hopes to guard against through increased domestic production and $52 billion worth of government investment in the sector through a bill being negotiated in Congress.
[Con información de The Associated Press y Reuters]
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