U.S. Is Using Taiwan as a Pressure Point in Tech Fight With China



Ana Swanson, Paul Mozur and Raymond Zhong | The New York Times

The Trump administration has for years sparred with China over tariff threats, technology and the terms of their trade deal. But in a pair of actions last week, the administration escalated those economic tensions in a way that comes close to touching a red line for Beijing: its contentious relationship with Taiwan.

One of the world’s leading computer chip makers, Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company, or T.S.M.C., said Thursday that it would build a factory in Arizona, a move heralded by American officials as a first step toward relocating a vital supply chain to the United States.

The next day, the Department of Commerce announced a rule change that could stymie the business the Chinese tech giant Huawei does with T.S.M.C. and other global chip manufacturers.

The administration has been working on multiple fronts to isolate Huawei, a major global smartphone brand and the planet’s largest producer of the equipment that powers mobile networks. But simultaneously undermining Huawei and bringing T.S.M.C. closer into the American orbit is a one-two punch of industrial policy that would have been unthinkable only a few years ago, one that raises the prospect of a more serious conflict between China and the United States.

To view the original article, click here.