SEUL – President Joe Biden will open his trip to Asia with a focus on the US technology sector on Friday by visiting Samsung’s computer chip factory, which will serve as a model for the $ 17 billion semiconductor plant that the Korean electronics company is building outside Austin, Texas.

The visit is also a tribute to one of Biden’s key domestic priorities – increasing the supply of computer chips. The shortage of semiconductors last year damaged the availability of cars, kitchen appliances and other goods. This drop in supplies sparked higher inflation, which advised Biden’s public approval and forced his administration to focus on increasing domestic production.

Biden will tackle a host of foreign policy issues during his six-day visit to South Korea and Japan, but he has also developed a route clearly designed to address the concerns of his home audience.

Before viewing the trip aboard Air Force One, White House National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan said Samsung’s investment in Texas would mean “good pay for Americans and, importantly, it would mean more sustainable supply chains.”

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Welcoming Biden at the plant in South Korea will be the new President Yoon Suk Yol and Vice President of Samsung Electronics Lee Jae-yeon. Yun is a political newcomer to the presidency, his first election, just over a week ago. He called for a tougher stance against North Korea and the strengthening of a 70-year alliance with the United States

In part, the shortage of computer chips is the result of strong demand as much of the world has emerged from the coronavirus pandemic. But coronavirus outbreaks and other problems have also caused the closure of semiconductor plants. U.S. government officials have estimated that chip production will not be at the level they would like by early 2023.

Global sales of computer chips amounted to $ 151.7 billion in the first three months of this year, up 23% from the same period in 2021, according to the Semiconductor Industry Association.

More than 75% of world chip production comes from Asia. This is a possible vulnerability from which the US hopes to protect itself by increasing domestic production and public investment in the sector through a bill being debated in Congress.

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The risk of Chinese aggression against Taiwan could stop the flow of high-end computer chips that are needed in the U.S. for military equipment as well as consumer goods. Similarly, airtight North Korea has conducted a test launch of ballistic missiles amid a coronavirus outbreak that could be a risk to South Korea’s manufacturing sector in the event of an escalation at the border.

In terms of chip production, China leads the world with a share of 24%, followed by Taiwan (21%), South Korea (19%) and Japan (13%). According to the Semiconductor Industry Association, only 10% of chips are made in the United States.

Samsung announced its founding in Texas last November. He hopes to start work in the second half of 2024. The South Korean electronics giant chose the site based on a number of factors, including government incentives and the “readiness and stability” of local infrastructure.

In addition to Samsung, Biden in his recent speeches also noted the announcement of the American company Intel to build a semiconductor plant near Columbus, Ohio.

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