TSMC close to deal with BioNTech to secure Covid-19 vaccines for Taiwan

Covid-19 vaccines, agreed to allow

Chip maker TSMC said on Sunday it was in the middle of the contract signing process to buy Covid-19 vaccines from Germany’s BioNTech, part of a drawn out process for Taiwan to access the shot.

Taiwan’s government has tried for months to buy the vaccine directly from BioNTech and has blamed mainland China, which claims the self-ruled island as its own territory, for blocking a deal the two sides were due to sign earlier this year. China denies the accusations.

Last month, facing public pressure about the slow pace of Taiwan’s inoculation programme, the government agreed to allow Terry Gou, the billionaire founder of Taiwan’s Foxconn, as well as Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing (TSMC) to negotiate on its behalf for the vaccines, which would be donated to Taiwan’s government for distribution.

“There are multiple parties. We are in the middle of the contract signing process. We will make announcements once the process is completed,” TSMC said in a brief emailed statement, without elaborating.

Gou’s spokesperson, BioNTech and Fosun did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Speaking to reporters later on Sunday, Taiwanese Premier Su Tseng-chang would only say that talks for the vaccine were ongoing.

“As soon as there is an definite outcome, we’ll naturally report it to everyone.”

Gou and TSMC this month reached an initial agreement with a subsidiary of Shanghai Fosun Pharmaceutical Group, which has a contract with BioNTech to sell the Covid-19 vaccines in mainland China, Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan, sources told Reuters.

Both Gou and TSMC are seeking 5 million doses each.

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