WEST POINT, Ga. (WRBL) – While KIA Georgia is facing a two-day shut down due to a shortage of semiconductors. Senators Jon Ossoff and Raphael Warnock are pushing legislation in Washington to prevent future shutdowns.
The United States relies on semiconductors that are often made in China and Taiwan. Semiconductors are essential to the KIA cars manufactured in West Point; they produce about 340,000 cars each year that need semiconductors. The coronavirus pandemic has strained the global supply chain and has led to many delays and interruptions in manufacturing.
“Production at Kia Georgia, Inc. has been cancelled for Thursday, May 27 and Friday, May 28 due to supply chain concerns over the availability of semiconductor chips. We will continue to closely monitor supply chain conditions in an effort to minimize the impact to our team members,” KIA Georgia said in a statement to News 3.
Ossoff and Warnock are looking to expedite legislation that would boost American semiconductor manufacturing and to avoid having manufacturing plant shutdowns in the future.
“We need to produce these semiconductors in the United States so that American manufacturing facilities like the KIA plant in West Point don’t face these shortages and have to shut down, which denies work to Georgia families and is damaging to the economy around that plant in West Point. That’s why we’re pushing to expedite passage of this legislation, to invest in American manufacturing of semiconductors, which will strengthen American manufacturing of cars and a whole range of other American industries,” said Ossoff.
Ossoff believes the United States is too dependent on the imports of the vital electronic semiconductors. He said he sees this shutdown as a warning sign for the future if the country does not stop depending on foreign country imports.
If the U.S. Innovation and Competition Act of 2021 passes, it would address the Georgia shortage by investing $52 billion into Creating Helpful Incentives to Produce Semiconductors (CHIPS) for America Act. That act would create a “Supply Chain Resiliency Program” to prevent future shortages of essential materials like semiconductors.
“If we don’t take action to boost domestic production of these semiconductors then we might see more shortages and more closures potentially for longer. We want to make sure that that plant is working at full speed. That all the workers and families who depend on it are getting paid gainfully doing the great work that they do there producing these KIA automobiles. That’s why we have to act now, take this as a warning,” said Ossoff.