White House chip meeting is underway — What investors should know

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  • CNBC Television published this video item, entitled “White House chip meeting is underway — What investors should know” – below is their description.

    CNBC’s Kayla Tausche reports on the White House chip meeting that is now underway, which focuses on how U.S. manufacturing can aid the semiconductor shortage currently plaguing American industry. For access to live and exclusive video from CNBC subscribe to CNBC PRO: https://cnb.cx/2NGeIvi

    Clarence E. Brown has experienced union strikes, plant shutdowns and layoffs due to parts shortages during his 47 years working for General Motors.

    But Brown, president of a United Auto Workers local chapter in Kansas, describes the ongoing semiconductor chip shortage that’s costing automakers billions and forcing massive temporary layoffs as more “disappointing” than previous work stoppages, because he feels it could have been avoided.

    “I’m not a corporate multibillionaire, but it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to know that there’s something wrong with this,” he told CNBC. “I’ve been with General Motors for over 40 some years, and in all 40 some years, they’ve taught me one thing: Where is ‘Plan B’? If ‘A’ is not working, where is ‘Plan B?’ Something has to be done so this will never happen again.”

    The White House is holding a virtual CEO Summit at noon ET Monday where President Joe Biden is scheduled to meet with executives from the auto, tech, biotech and consumer electronics industries to discuss the chip shortage. Participants scheduled include CEOs Mary Barra of GM, Jim Farley of Ford Motor and Intel’s Pat Gelsinger.

    Auto executives started warning of a chip shortage late last year. Those warnings quickly turned into temporary plant closures for the auto industry, causing automakers to temporarily layoff tens of thousands of U.S. autoworkers for varying periods of time since the beginning of the year. Brown’s roughly 2,000 hourly workers at GM’s Fairfax Assembly plant were among the first to lose work when the factory was idled by GM in early February due to the parts shortage.

    “I just hope that those people in charge, including the president, can come up with a plan so that this won’t happen again,” said Brown, who met Biden during a campaign visit to the plant in 2019. “It’s not just a General Motors or Ford or car thing. This has affected other areas of this country as well.”

    But experts and company officials say there’s little to nothing Biden can do to force chipmakers, a majority of which are in Asia, specifically Taiwan, to allocate more to the U.S. automotive industry. Biden could try to pressure them. He has also backed proposals for tax incentives to U.S. manufacturers to make the critical parts in America to avoid future shortages.

    “One of our hopes would be that we could come out of the meeting with a path and a road map to getting back to fulfilling 100% of automotive semiconductor orders and have some real insight and transparency into what that timeline might look like,” said Matt Blunt, president of the American Automotive Policy Council, which represents GM, Ford and Stellantis NV.

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