Biden administration moves to fix supply chain bottlenecks

WASHINGTON – The Biden administration on Tuesday outlined a string of actions and recommendations to address supply chain disruptions caused by the coronavirus pandemic and reduce dependence on other countries for critical goods by increasing domestic production capacity.

White House officials told a briefing with reporters that the administration has created a task force that will tackle near-term bottlenecks in manufacturing, transportation, semiconductor production and agriculture. The group will be headed by Mr. Biden’s cabinet secretary.

Sameera Fazili, deputy director of the National Economic Council, said, “They’re really going to bring all the stakeholders together to diagnose the problems, understand what’s happening in these markets and see how to close those weaknesses.” What action can be taken for this?” .

The officials also outlined the steps that were taken to address Executive Order from President Biden which needs critical review delivery method There are four product areas where the United States is dependent on imports: semiconductors, high-capacity batteries, pharmaceuticals and their active ingredients, and critical minerals and strategic materials, such as rare earths.

“It’s about making sure the United States can meet every challenge we face in the new era,” Biden said in February, when he signed the order.

The review was across the government. Cabinet members were ordered to report to the White House within 100 days. The move was intended to address concerns about supply chain resilience and long-term competition with China.

The Department of Health and Human Services, for example, would use $60 million from $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief bill Develop technologies for increasing domestic production of active ingredients in major pharmaceuticals. The Department of the Interior will work to identify sites where important minerals can be produced in the United States. And many agencies will work on creating a supply chain for new technologies that will reduce dependence on imports of key materials.

The Biden administration also indicated it was ready to use the trade policy to increase domestic supplies of key minerals and components. As part of that effort, the Office of the United States Trade Representative said it would establish a so-called strike force that could propose action against foreign companies believed to be involved in unfair trade practices.

The Department of Commerce will evaluate whether to investigate the global trade of neodymium magnets under Section 232 of the Trade Expansion Act of 1962. The Trump Administration Enforced That Law Tariffs on foreign steel and aluminum, after concluding that domestic production of those materials was necessary for national security.

As part of his plans to address climate change, Mr Biden wants Americans to drive millions of new electric vehicles And get most of your energy from renewable sources like wind and solar power. But experts have long said that the transition to clean energy will require huge supplies of the critical minerals, many of which are currently produced and processed overseas.

Most of the world’s lithium, a key component in the batteries that power electric vehicles, is mined in Australia, China, Chile and Argentina. China dominates the global production of rare earth minerals such as neodymium used to make magnets in wind turbines. It has also captured a massive market for lithium-ion batteries, accounting for 77 percent of the world’s capacity for battery cells production and 80 percent of its raw material refining, According to BloombergNEF, an energy research group.

The United States lags far behind other countries in manufacturing many clean energy technologies, making it heavily dependent on imports.

The Biden administration has vowed to bring back more of that manufacturing and mining, but progress has been slow. In the United States, companies are running unlock lithium supply In states such as Nevada and North Dakota, however, those efforts face opposition due to their environmental impacts. Mountain Pass, California has only one mine in the country that produces rare earth minerals.

As part of its announcement on Tuesday, the Biden administration said it would work to identify new domestic sites where such important minerals could be mined with environmental safeguards, a mapping submitted to Congress in the U.S. Geological Survey. asked to raise funds for the program.

The Department of Energy announced that it will offer loans to companies that can sustainably refine, process and recycle rare earths and other materials used in electric vehicles. The agency will also release a plan on Tuesday to develop a domestic supply chain for lithium-ion batteries.

The Department of Energy has $17.7 billion to issue loans under Advanced Technology Vehicle Manufacturing Loan Program, which Congress created in 2007 and used in 2010 to support electric-vehicle maker Tesla in its early days. In its announcement, the agency said it wanted to offer loans to manufacturers of advanced battery technology who set up factories in the United States. It also announced a new policy that would require recipients to “substantially manufacture those products in the United States” for future funding of new clean-energy technologies.

semiconductors – a key component in cars and electronic equipment – were also another major research area for officials, although they did not describe immediate plans to increase production. a global semiconductor shortage The US has forced several US auto plants to shut down or reduce production and sent the administration to appeal for emergency supplies from allies such as Taiwan. Instead, the 100-day review report said Congress should support a $50 billion investment in domestic semiconductor manufacturing and research.

Peter Harrell, the National Security Council’s senior director of international economics and competitiveness, told reporters: “Generally, in line with the resolution in Congress, we would expect to encourage both foreign and American companies to invest here in the United States. ” He pointed out that companies like Samsung has found ways To invest more in chip manufacturing in the United States.

The effort is partly a push for the president’s $1 trillion infrastructure plan, which could fund some research and on-the-job training to accelerate production of advanced technologies to American workers. The recommendations also call for unionizing those new jobs.

“We must focus on creating a pathway for all Americans to access well-paying jobs with a free and fair option to join a union and bargain collectively,” Ms Fazili said.

Effort Comes Heavy on Tuesday as Senate A huge industrial policy bill passed To counter China’s growing influence, a rare bipartisan development as lawmakers suddenly embrace massive investments in semiconductor manufacturing, artificial intelligence research, robotics, quantum computing and a range of other technologies.

Nick Vyas, executive director of the Center for Global Supply Chain Management at the University of Southern California’s Marshall School of Business, praised the report as a holistic effort, but said both it and the industrial policy bill are long overdue actions. Foreign governments – especially China – for the material.

“It cannot be an issue that divides us on both sides of the political spectrum,” Mr. Vyas said in an interview. “We’ve needed to do a lot of makeup work for the last 25 to 30 years.”

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