One year ago, President Joseph Biden issued an Executive Order on America’s Supply Chains, which called for 100-day assessments on the state of certain deemed strategic product supply chains essential for U.S. economic growth. The action further requested recommendations from a number of U.S. federal agencies that umbrella commerce, transportation, energy, health and national defense on means where government could augment U.S. focused supply chain resiliency actions.
Supply Chain Matters provided our readers awareness to the tenets of this executive order, and in later in early June of 2021, highlights of the 100-day assessments among specific government agencies.
Today, one year since this executive order, the White House released a summary of seven cabinet agency priorities and recommendations that the U.S. federal government can collectively undertake to address needed resiliency in either supply chain infrastructure, logistics and policy matters, along with less reliance on U.S. imports. There are weblink references to the seven individual reports from federal agencies plus a bulleted summary of near, medium and long-term policies directed at improving U.S. logistics infrastructure, manufacturing competitiveness, and muti-tiered supply network needs for deemed critical materials.
Among some of the noted highlights were:
The Export-Import Bank’s pending initiative to provide financing to U.S.-based makers of semiconductors, biotech and biomedical products as well as renewable and energy storage companies to augment manufacturing. There is additionally special emphasis placed on small and medium sized manufacturers to obtain financing.
Investing in sustainable domestic production and processing of critical minerals in order to decrease dependence on foreign or single sources of supply. This will reportedly include anywhere from rare earths utilized in electric motors and generators and extending to the carbon fiber used for airplanes. The Administration further announced plans to expand domestic rare earth processing, strengthening the National Defense Stockpile for such materials.
Expand access to capital for small manufacturers including provisions of upwards of $70 billion be allocated in additional lending and investment. There are noted efforts directed at advancing the technological leadership of both small and large manufacturers. The Administration will reportedly host a series of roundtables with 16 manufacturing focused institutes to address scaling of innovative technologies, promoting regional workforce initiatives and supporting smaller suppliers.
Address outdated U.S. port and logistics infrastructure including the U.S. Department of Transportation’s opening of a $450 million Port Infrastructure Development Grant program, wholly dedicated to investments in port infrastructure. In the coming weeks, this agency will reportedly release notices of funding opportunity for added grant programs to fund a diverse set of transportation infrastructure projects of regional and national significance. In its reporting, The Wall Street Journal in its reporting added that Department of Transportation officials indicated that reliance on just a handful of U.S. ports remains a risk for future bottlenecks not only in added volumes but in severe weather events.
A further provision is instilling added reforms into a new Buy American rule that will create a category of deemed critical products that will be eligible for enhanced price preferences among domestic manufacturing sources deemed essential to the Administration’s supply chain resiliency strategy.
Supply Chain Matters Perspectives
A year in the making, this listing of added actions, initiatives and priorities can at least be the start of concerted governmental actions in addressing needed policies, actions and reforms related to the lessons of the past two-years. The reality, however, is that a lot of work remains, and it will be private industry and industry groups that will have to be the champions of change and establishing momentum. We are especially encouraged with an added emphasis on small and medium business impacts and needs, since that grouping was significantly impacted by pandemic and consequent added disruptions and have indeed incurred more economic harm.
Too often in these times, the political discourse gets bogged down in partisan politics, grandstanding and gridlock. We hope and trust that needs for added supply chain resiliency can be bipartisan in support.
One other positive from this report of progress are mentions of specific efforts to reach out to other global nations such as the EU and other nations to coordinate governmental actions related to global-wide supply chain resiliency needs as well as policy reforms such as maritime laws and policy measures that have not been addressed in the context of just-in-time global inventory flows among multi-modal transport channels. A further critical need in consistent and common interfaces for the collection, transmission and synthesis of electronic information flows across global and domestic B2B supply chain networks.
As stated in our prior perspectives on such U.S. efforts, the good news remains a call to action for concerted and collaborative government and industry efforts directed at sorely needed actions and investments.
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