The Journal Gazette
Wednesday, June 09, 2021 1:00 am

Effort to free up supply chains

New task force to review options

JOSH BOAK | Associated Press

WASHINGTON – After completing a review of supply chains, the Biden administration announced Tuesday it was forming a task force to address the bottlenecks in the semiconductor, construction, transportation and agriculture sectors.

Administration officials said the goal of the review, detailed in a 250-page report, was to increase domestic manufacturing, limit shortages of vital goods and reduce a dependence on geopolitical competitors such as China. The officials said the administration wanted to get ahead of crises such as the computer chip shortage that has hurt automakers this year.

“Our approach to supply chain resilience needs to look forward to emerging threats from cybersecurity to climate issues,” Sameera Fazili, a deputy director of the White House National Economic Council, said at Tuesday's news briefing.

The 100-day review emphasized that supply chains are critical for national security, economic stability and global leadership.

A shortage of raw materials has made it harder for the U.S. economy to recover from the pandemic-induced recession. The supply bottleneck has helped fuel a bout of inflation that the administration believes will be temporary.

The new task force will be led by the secretaries of Commerce, Agriculture and Transportation to focus on parts of the economy where there is a mismatch between supply and demand.

Fazili said the shortages are “kind of good problems to be having” because they mean that demand from consumers and businesses is returning. She said the new task force will be bringing together stakeholders to figure out how to address the bottlenecks, adding many of the actions might be taken by private companies rather than the government.

“The success of our vaccination campaign surprised many people, and so they weren't prepared for demand to rebound,” Fazili said.

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