Taiwan says chip companies in talks about Europe investment

The logo of Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co (TSMC) is pictured at its headquarters, in Hsinchu, Taiwan, January 19, 2021. REUTERS/Ann Wang

TAIPEI (Reuters) - Some Taiwanese chip companies are in talks with European countries about investments there, a government minister said on Wednesday, adding the administration was "pleased" to see efforts by local companies to work with democratic allies.

The European Union has been courting Taiwan, a major semiconductor producer, as one of the "like-minded" partners it would like to work with under the European Chips Act unveiled in February.

While Taiwan and the EU held-high level trade talks in June, less than a week after that meeting Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co Ltd (TSMC) said it had no concrete plans for factories in Europe.

TSMC, the world's largest contract chipmaker and Asia's most valuable listed company, flagged last year that it was in the early stages of reviewing a potential expansion into Germany but there appears to have been no substantive progress since then.

"To my knowledge, the European Commission and member states are talking to some of our companies, which is purely a commercial decision for the companies to make," Taiwan Deputy Economy Minister Chen Chern-chyi told reporters in Taipei, responding to a question on potential Taiwanese chip investment in Europe. However, he did not name any firms.

"From the government's perspective we are pleased to see our companies deploy globally and with our democratic allies, as long as we share the same values we like to form a trusted partnership," added Chen, whose portfolio covers economic relations with Europe.

Sitting next to him, Filip Grzegorzewski, the EU's de facto ambassador in Taiwan, said he was pleased to hear a government minister encouraging Taiwanese investment in Europe.

"It's one of the highlights of my stay in Taiwan when I hear a representative of a Taiwanese government at a press conference encouraging Taiwanese companies to 'go Europe', to invest in Europe."

(Reporting by Ben Blanchard; Editing by Raju Gopalakrishnan)

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