Several telecommunications and trade bodies gave a positive reception to the announcement Wednesday that Joe Biden has signed an executive order aimed at improving U.S. supply chains to better prepare for future crises similar to the COVID-19 pandemic, and reduce reliance on foreign-made products.
The president said the order would do two things. The first is to initiate a 100-day review of the production of semi-conductors, key minerals and materials that are used to make everything from hard steel to airplanes, pharmaceuticals and advanced batteries that power electric vehicles.
The second move is to conduct a long-term review of six economic sectors to fortify U.S. supply chains moving forward.
National Association of Manufacturers President and CEO Jay Timmons said: “Manufacturers have led the nation’s response to COVID-19 by ramping up production of critical supplies, developing treatments and vaccines and continuing to produce the essentials for daily life. But the pandemic has also exposed serious challenges facing supply chains and the serious consequences when they are disrupted.”
“The administration’s goal of increasing manufacturing investment in the United States is one we share,” Timmons went on. “We look forward to working with the Biden administration to bolster supply chains and create new job opportunities in America.”
The Telecommunications Industry Association thanked President Biden for taking swift action to secure America’s critical supply chains. “Resilient and trusted telecommunications networks are key to securing our nation’s — and ultimately the world’s — information and communications technology (ICT) supply chain,” said CEO David Stehlin. “Beyond that, we again urge the administration to work with industry on technology-neutral policies as it takes on the task of reviewing ICT supply chains. As America continues to learn and work remotely, these technologies play an outsized role in keeping people connected and safe.”
Meanwhile, U.S. Chamber of Commerce Senior Vice President for Cyber, Intelligence, and Supply Chain Security Policy Christopher Roberti voiced its approval of the executive order. “The American public should never suffer from shortages of essential goods due to supply-chain issues,” they said in a joint statement. “We can mitigate risks to our supply chains by working with key international partners to diversify our supply chains and stockpiling select products — and we trust that the administration will engage closely with the private sector to ensure that any policy recommendations reject punitive approaches, new trade barriers, and one-size-fits-all solutions.”
Automakers have been forced to halt production because of a lack of computer chips. Health care workers battling the coronavirus pandemic had to make do without masks as the United States waited on supplies from China. And pharmaceutical executives worried that supplies of critical drugs could dry up if countries tried to stockpile key ingredients and block exports.
Administration officials said the order would not offer a quick fix but would start an effort to insulate the American economy from future shortages of critical imported components.
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