By: Editorial Staff, Date: September 14th, 2021
Even before the COVID-19 pandemic struck, semiconductor shortages were an issue that was already starting to affect companies in a wide range of industries. When COVID-19 came along, though, and ground factories all over the globe to a halt – creating worldwide supply chains disruptions the likes of which we have never had to deal with in the modern era – the impact of these shortages was magnified to the nth degree.
Now, Vice President Kamala Harris is working to build relationships with the countries that the US especially relies on for its semiconductor demands by making trips to both Singapore and Vietnam. In remarks discussing the need to work with these countries to alleviate the effects of the global semiconductor shortage, Harris called semiconductor supply chain issues “very real” and emphasized the need for the US to build better trade relationships with the countries that are vital to the semiconductor supply chain.
Singapore – a country that is actively working to increase its ability to manufacture crucial electronics such as semiconductors – was the first country that VP Harris visited on August 22nd. On August 24th, Harris visited with leaders in Vietnam – another country that is seen as vital to the semiconductor supply chain due to the large number of Chinese companies that have moved their operations to Vietnam in recent years.
In addition to visiting with leaders in Singapore and Vietnam, Harris has also recently sat down with General Motors Co. Chief Executive Officer Mary Barra. In their conversation, the semiconductor shortage was an issue that took center stage. Since 2020, GM has been forced to limit its production due to a lack of the critical microchips that are found in all modern vehicles. While Barra has recently told reporters that she is confident that chip supply concerns will soon ease, she stopped short of providing any kind of specific timeline on when this is expected to happen.
For now, semiconductor supply chain disruption is a clear and present danger to companies across a vast range of industries and the global economy as a whole. The fact that the issue is getting the personal attention of our country’s top leaders provides some solace, but it is also a sign of just how real and impactful these issues actually are.