The White House Launches Supply Chain Task Force

By Elise Leise
In its first 100 days, the Biden-Harris administration is taking measures to support semiconductor, battery, and mineral supply chains

The Biden Administration has released its 100-day supply chain assessment for semiconductor manufacturing and advanced packaging, large-capacity batteries, critical minerals and materials, and pharmaceuticals. After a year in which supply chains throughout the nation were decimated by the pandemic, the new task force intends to get the country back on track. 

These measures come just in time. Semiconductor shortages have crippled the nation’s automotive manufacturers, and the new Innovation and Competition Act will strain ties between the U.S. and China. The United States needs to invest in resilient and secure supply chains, as well as help its manufacturing companies survive the pandemic. 

What’s Happened Already? 

Since February, the administration’s COVID-19 response team has vaccinated 137 million Americans, worked with semiconductor manufacturers, expanded rare earth element mining outside of China, and addressed supply chain cyber vulnerabilities. “Unfair trade practices by competitor nations, private- and public-sector prioritisation of low-cost labour and a focus on short-term returns over long-term investment have hollowed out the U.S. industrial base”, said the White House

To address risks and vulnerabilities, the administration will also prioritise the following steps

  • Commit US$60mn to develop novel platform technologies to boost API production
  • Develop a domestic lithium battery supply chain to combat the climate crisis
  • Support manufacturers of advanced battery cells and packs with US$17bn in loans 
  • Invest nearly US$75bn in semiconductor manufacturing 
  • Give US$100mn in grants to state-led supply chain apprenticeship programmes 

In addition, the White House recommended that the nation should establish a Supply Chain Resilience Programme backed by US$50bn in domestic supply chain investments.

An International Effort 

Although the United States has recently doubled down on hardline stances against foreign trade competition—one need only look at its recent Senate bill—the scale of its supply chain transformation programme requires partnership. “Even as the U.S. makes investments to expand domestic production capacity for some critical products, we must work with allies to secure supplies of critical goods that we will not make in sufficient quantities at home”, the White House stated

In the coming months, the U.S. will work with international allies such as the Quad and the G7 in order to diversify its networks, ensure human rights compliance, and source critical minerals and materials. And though the nation is aggressively investing in R&D and competitive technology, it wants to maintain its global trade ties. “U.S. investments abroad must incentivise environmentally and socially responsible production”, the administration wrote. “We must engage our partners to promote global resilience”. 

 

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