US-China competition over technology is unlikely to change even if the US has a transfer of power, Minister of Science and Technology Wu Tsung-tsong (吳政忠) said yesterday, adding that domestic semiconductor suppliers have increased investment in Taiwan and countries covered by the New Southbound Policy.
Many US tech giants, such as those based in California, seem to back the Democratic Party, whereas local firms do not show much of a preference for either the Democrats or the Republicans, he said during an interview with radio program host Clara Chou (周玉蔻) in Taipei.
US competition with China over technology has lasted for two to three years and both of the main political parties in the US are concerned over China’s threats to their national interests, meaning that the result of the US presidential election is unlikely to affect the countries’ tech rivalry, Wu said.
While domestic firms are unlikely to take a stance on the election, it is noteworthy that tech giants, such as Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing, MediaTek and ASE Technology Holding, have increased local investment or investment in countries covered by the government’s New Southbound Policy, he said.
The firms’ actions could start an industry trend, given that they are No. 1 in the world for semiconductor packaging and testing and No. 2 for IC design, he added.
The US-China conflict also highlights the importance of information security, Wu said, adding that the government over the past four years has promoted cybersecurity assurance for information and communications technology suppliers.
Local Chinese-language media on Monday reported that Premier Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) decided to restructure the Ministry of Science and Technology (MOST) back into the National Science Council (NSC), as it was before 2014.
If a draft bill for its restructuring is approved by the legislature next year, the MOST would become the “shortest-lived” agency, the reports said.
Asked about the ministry’s destiny, Wu yesterday said that the Executive Yuan is evaluating various plans before rendering a decision.
The reorganization would be part of the Executive Yuan’s plans to establish a new digital technology development agency and restructure several other agencies.
Technology pertains to several agencies, not just the MOST, and a council tasked with interagency coordination is not necessarily weaker than a ministry, Wu said.
Wu served as a minister without portfolio overseeing tech-related policy from May 2016 until he assumed his current post on May 20.
In 2006, he served as NSC deputy minister under then-NSC minister Chen Chien-jen (陳建仁), who later became the nation’s vice president.
While briefing reporters in June, Wu said that the ministry over the past few years had not operated smoothly, and that it sometimes acts as “both the player and the referee” regarding project funding.
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