WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A U.S. Commerce Department official who served as a liaison to businesses is joining Taiwan-based chip supplier MediaTek Inc (2454.TW) as a top lobbyist as the company seeks to ramp up its presence in Washington, a source familiar with the matter said.
Patrick Wilson started his new role as vice president of government affairs on Monday, amid growing scrutiny of the chip sector in Washington, the person said.
Until Friday, he served as director of the Office of Business Liaison for the Commerce Department, as it led the charge against Chinese tech companies such as telecoms equipment giant Huawei and video surveillance company Hikvision amid rising tensions between Beijing and Washington.
Wilson “will help advise MediaTek and add our voice to the dialogue about important issues that will guide and grow the semiconductor industry globally,” said MediaTek general counsel David Su, according to a draft press release seen by Reuters.
Neither Commerce nor MediaTek responded to requests for comment.
MediaTek could benefit from a measure imposed by Commerce in May that expands U.S. authority to block global shipments of semiconductor chips to Huawei by requiring companies that manufacture chips designed by it to obtain U.S. licenses. Many industry insiders speculate that Huawei will respond to the rule by outsourcing the design of its chips to companies such as MediaTek.
Wilson previously worked as director of government affairs at the Semiconductor Industry Association, a trade group.
Reporting by Alexandra Alper; Editing by Leslie Adler