The Biden administration wrapped up an initial 100-day review into what it can do to secure access to critical goods from semiconductors to batteries, pharmaceuticals as well as strategic minerals like rare earth elements.
President Joe Biden ordered the review of critical supply chains in February, worried that the United States was falling behind after it struggled to gain access to critical goods during the COVID-19 pandemic. Here are some of the major recommendations and initiatives developed by U.S. executive agencies.
TRADE 'STRIKE FORCE'
The United States will target China with a new “strike force” to combat unfair trade practices that the administration says are damaging U.S. supply chains. The group will be led by the U.S. trade representative, which has the power to enforce tariffs against China and other countries.
NATIONAL SECURITY TARIFFS?
The Department of Commerce is considering initiating a Section 232 investigation into the national security impact of neodymium magnet imports used in motors and other industrial applications, which the United States largely obtains from China.
To address supply bottlenecks from lumber to steel that have raised fears of inflation, the administration is starting a task force focused on homebuilding and construction, semiconductors, transportation, as well as agriculture and food.
Chinese and U.S. flags flutter outside a company building in Shanghai, China April 14, 2021. REUTERS/Aly Song
BRINGING DRUG MANUFACTURING ONSHORE
The administration will use the Defense Production Act to accelerate efforts to manufacture 50 to 100 critical drugs domestically rather than relying on imports. Biden already used the Korean War-era law to boost production of vaccines and other critical medical supplies in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Commerce Department would work to "facilitate information flow" between chip makers and end users and increase transparency, and to resolve a shortage in semiconductors that has curbed production of goods including new cars.
New government working groups will look to reform mine permitting laws and identify sites where critical minerals in batteries can be produced and processed “while adhering to the highest environmental, labor, and sustainability standards,” according to a fact sheet.
The U.S. Development Finance Corporation will also expand international investments in critical mineral projects.
The Department of Energy will also use $17 billion in loans it can make to help manufacturers of advanced technology vehicle batteries.