US to launch Supply Chain Disruptions Task Force

Will Green is news editor of Supply Management
11 June 2021

The US has announced a new Supply Chain Disruptions Task Force to provide a whole-of-government response to supply challenges.

The task force will focus on homebuilding and construction, semiconductors, transport, and agriculture and food, where “a mismatch between supply and demand has been evident”.

“It will convene stakeholders to diagnose problems and surface solutions – large and small, public or private – that could help alleviate bottlenecks and supply constraints,” said the White House.

The task force is part of recommendations following a review into critical supply chains, which covered semiconductors, large capacity batteries, critical minerals and materials, and pharmaceuticals.

The White House said “structural weaknesses in both domestic and international supply chains threaten America’s economic and national security”.

“While amplified by the public health and economic crisis, decades of underinvestment and public policy choices led to fragile supply chains across a range of sectors and products.”

The White House said a range of factors including unfair trade practices by competitor nations and just-in-time production had “hollowed out the US industrial base”.

In response a public-private consortium will be set up for advanced manufacturing and onshoring of domestic essential medicines production.

Work will take place to identify sites where critical minerals could be produced and processed in the US “to the highest environmental, labour, and sustainability standards”, while a National Blueprint for Lithium Batteries will be produced.

The government will also partner with industry and allies to address semiconductor shortages and “bring stakeholders together to promote improved transparency and data sharing”. A recommendation will be made to Congress to support investments of at least $50bn in domestic manufacturing of semiconductors.

The chip shortage, which Ford expects to cost it $2.5bn in lost production this year, is forecast to last another two years.

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