BERLIN—German Economy Minister Peter Altmaier has asked Taiwan to persuade Taiwanese manufacturers to help ease a shortage of semiconductor chips in the auto sector, which is hampering its economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.

In a letter sent in late January, German Economy Minister Peter Altmaier asked his Taiwanese counterpart Wang Mei-hua to address the issue in talks with Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. Ltd. (TSMC), the world’s largest contract chipmaker and one of Germany’s main suppliers.

“I would be pleased if you could take on this matter and underline the importance of additional semiconductor capacities for the German automotive industry to TSMC,” Altmaier wrote.

Altmaier said the aim was to enable additional capacities and deliveries of semiconductors in the short and medium term.

The shortage has affected Volkswagen, Ford Motor Co., Subaru Corp., Toyota Motor Corp., Nissan Motor Co. Ltd., Fiat Chrysler Automobiles and other car makers.

The German automobile industry was already in direct talks with TSMC about hiking deliveries and there had been “very constructive” signals from TSMC to solve the problem, he wrote.

A German economy ministry spokeswoman said it was monitoring the situation very closely and that it was in talks on the issue with the car industry. To reduce dependencies from Asian suppliers and avoid similar problems in the future, Berlin is now planning to increase state support to ramp up production capacities of semiconductors in Germany and Europe, the spokeswoman added.