Race for Nanometers: American Policy Toward Taiwan and Republic of Korea

DOI: 10.20542/0131-2227-2023-67-11-80-88
Primakov National Research Institute of World Economy and International Relations, Russian Academy of Sciences (IMEMO), 23, Profsoyuznaya Str., Moscow, 117997, Russian Federation.
Primakov National Research Institute of World Economy and International Relations, Russian Academy of Sciences (IMEMO), 23, Profsoyuznaya Str., Moscow, 117997, Russian Federation.

Received 24.07.2023. Revised 16.08.2023. Accepted 23.08.2023.

Acknowledgments. The article was prepared within the project “Post-crisis world order: challenges and technologies, competition and cooperation” supported by the grant from Ministry of Science and Higher Education of the Russian Federation program for research projects in priority areas of scientific and technological development (Agreement 075-15-2020-783).

Abstract. Intensive development of manufacturing capabilities of Taiwan and Republic of Korea (RoK) since 1960s leads to their emergence as key global semiconductor asset. Until 2020/2021 TSMC and Samsung supplied almost 100% of most technologically advanced chips. The U. S. considered this situation as critical dependence – both for political (conflict with China, securitization of digital technologies, etc.) and economic reasons (risks of supply distortions). Along with science and technology (S&T) efforts major accent was put on new relations with Taiwan and RoK as sources of investments and competences needed to regain U.S. capabilities. By forcing and stimulating TSMC and Samsung to localize its facilities in the USA, American elites tried to solve set of different tasks. Among them were supporting strategic technological autonomy from Asia, and limiting Chinese potential for development (by requiring non-cooperation with PRC in exchange for subsidies). However, due to economic, regulatory, and competence drawbacks efficiency of this new strategy is questionable. Crisis in the electronic industry since the fall of 2022 makes the situation even more problematic. In the mid-term the strategy may not change the balance of power in microchip manufacturing and architecture of relationship with both Asian economies. This requires further development of American economic diplomacy toward Taiwan, RoK – as well as Japan (a so-called “Chip 4” group). This coincides with changes in market dynamics of semiconductor industry. On one hand, geopolitics and value chain resilience became organic factors defining investments and operational expenses. On the other, we may envision sharp rise of competition among nations and companies. Thus, for the long-term success may be determined only by S&T and Innovations (also through industry restructuring) where USA are still strong, but their success isn’t guaranteed anymore.

Keywords: USA, Taiwan, Republic of Korea, China, microelectronics, semiconductors, innovation


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For citation:
Danilin I., Selyanin Y. Race for Nanometers: American Policy Toward Taiwan and Republic of Korea. World Eonomy and International Relations, 2023, vol. 67, no. 11, pp. 80-88. https://doi.org/10.20542/0131-2227-2023-67-11-80-88 EDN: AIBREO

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