TAIPEI (Reuters) -Taiwanese chip maker TSMC is making “excellent” progress building its new plant in Arizona, the governor of the U.S. state said on Wednesday, going on to praise his state’s role in training Taiwanese fighter pilots.
Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co Ltd (TSMC), a major Apple Inc supplier and the world’s largest contract chipmaker, is constructing a $12 billion plant in Arizona.
Speaking at an investment conference during a visit to Taipei, Arizona Governor Doug Ducey recalled meeting the TSMC leadership in 2017 and then in 2020 announcing the investment.
“Just over two years later TSMC has completed construction for its main facility and continues to make excellent progress,” he said, describing visiting the construction site as “even more impressive in person”.
“Along with TSMC’s historic investment, roughly two dozen Taiwanese-based suppliers are finding Arizona is right for investment,” added Ducey.
TSMC said in an emailed statement the governor and his team did not visit the company, but did talk with them.
“Thanks to the continuous support of the Arizona state government, representatives of TSMC, together with many supply chain partners, had a great discussion with the Governor and his team today on the current investment projects in Arizona,” it said, without elaborating.
Ducey said that Taiwanese companies were also finding Arizona’s partnership with Taiwan spans decades.
“As one example, for more than 25 years, Taiwan pilots flying F-16 fighter jets have trained at Luke Air Force base in west Phoenix. We are particularly proud of Arizona’s role in helping Taiwan bolster its defence and protect its people.”
Ducey, is the latest in a succession of officials from the United States to visit, defying pressure from China for such trips not to take place.
China claims Taiwan as its territory despite the strong objections of the democratically elected government in Taipei, which rejects Beijing’s sovereignty claims.
Ducey, a Republican, will meet with Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen and with companies in the semiconductor industry on his three-day trip.
Taiwan has hosted a succession of officials from the United States since a visit by a delegation led by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi early this month, which infuriated China.
Beijing responded to Pelosi’s visit with military drills close to the island that included launches of ballistic missiles over Taipei for the first time, and by cutting some lines of dialogue with Washington.
(Reporting by Ben Blanchard; Editing by Kenneth Maxwell and Bernadette Baum)