Biden Announces New Steps to Address Supply-Chain Disruptions

Bloomberg — As President Joe Biden met top leaders from global economies and the European Union in an effort to resolve supply-chain issues, Biden made several moves to tackle recent disruptions.

He issued an executive order during the Group of 20 summit on Sunday aimed at speeding up the response to shortfalls of supplies, equipment and raw materials housed in the U.S.’s National Defense Stockpile.

According to the White House, funding for Mexico and Central America will be increased to ease supply shortages as well as to enhance customs clearance and clearing procedures.

“Solving this is going to take all of us — government and private industry, labor unions and research institutions,” Biden told reporters as he convened a meeting of international leaders in Rome.
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According to the White House, Secretary of State Antony Blinken will host a summit with Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo next year to gather international counterparts. The purpose of the summit is to connect companies, labor organisations, and academics in order to find more ways to strengthen supply chain resilience.

Biden directed a wide review of U.S. supply channels this year because of the financial disruption caused by coronavirus pandemic.

His defense-related order puts the Pentagon’s top weapons buyer in charge of deciding whether and when to release raw materials from the National Defense Stockpile.

The Pentagon’s under secretary for acquisition and sustainment “may release strategic and critical materials from the National Defense Stockpile for use, sale, or other disposition only when required for use, manufacture, or production for purposes of national defense,” according to a White House statement.

The NDS is a raw materials-based stockpile of 42 commodities meant to decrease or prevent “dependence upon foreign and single points of supply for strategic and critical materials needed in times of national emergency,” according to the Congressional Research Service.

“No release is authorized for economic or budgetary purposes,” according to the executive order.

In coordination with the heads of other agencies, the Defense Department will take decisions. There’s currently no congressionally confirmed undersecretary. The Biden administration hasn’t named a nominee since July when its first candidate withdrew.

–With assistance from Jennifer Epstein.


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