Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co, a major chipmaker to Apple Inc and Huawei Technologies Co, has recruited rival Intel Corp’s former top lobbyist Peter Cleveland to spearhead an unprecedented effort in Washington to mitigate impact from US-Chinese trade tensions.
The world’s biggest contract chipmaker joins a growing number of companies with Chinese business interests that are stepping up US lobbying, aiming to gauge and lessen the fallout from Washington’s ongoing dispute with Beijing. The Taiwanese company indicated in July it was considering starting government relations operations in the US.
Cleveland, who headed Intel’s lobbying effort for over a decade, updated his LinkedIn profile this month to reflect new responsibilities including representing TSMC on policy, legislative and regulatory matters. There’s been speculation US sanctions may affect TSMC’s shipments to Huawei. But the Taiwanese chipmaker has publicly quashed talk of US pressure for it to stop supplying its No 2 customer, which Washington blacklisted and views as a national security threat.
“Peter Cleveland is helping TSMC enhance communications with stakeholders including government officials at a global level,” TSMC spokeswoman Nina Kao told Bloomberg News by phone, adding Cleveland is based in Washington DC.
While there have been TSMC staffers tasked with similar responsibilities previously, Cleveland’s arrival coalesces the effort under one independent position, according to Kao. TSMC plays an indispensable role in the global semiconductor industry, commanding more than 50% of the global foundry market. US and Chinese tech companies from Advanced Micro Devices Inc to Nvidia Corp.