- As snarls in product availability and cargo flow persist in the U.S., President Joe Biden announced a series of actions to boost the country's supply chain resiliency at the G20 Summit in Rome on Sunday.
- An executive order allows the Department of Defense to release supplies, equipment and raw materials from the National Defense Stockpile to more quickly respond to industrial shortfalls. In a separate move, the State Department will allot more funding to help counterparts in Mexico and Central America grapple with supply chain disruptions and reduce port delays, Biden said.
- Biden also said the U.S. will host a forum on supply chain disruptions with world leaders, businesses and other stakeholders next year to help "chart a path forward" from a pandemic that has exposed and exacerbated weaknesses.
Biden used the gathering of world leaders to further advocate for supply chain diversity, security, transparency and sustainability.
"Now that we have seen how vulnerable these lines of global commerce can be, we cannot go back to business as usual," he said. "This pandemic won’t be the last global health crisis we face. We also need to increase our resilience in the face of climate change, natural disasters, and even planned attacks."
The remarks at G20 Summit on Global Supply Chain Resilience come after a series of actions by the Biden administration intended to address weaknesses in the U.S. supply chain. At the start of the administration, Biden ordered a review of supply chain issues, then appointed a "port envoy" to help fix some of the logistics issues. He traveled to Southern California last month to announce expanded port hours to improve sluggish cargo flow into the U.S. Now, on a more global stage, Biden is focusing on more upstream links in the supply chain.
The executive order Biden announced in Rome gives the Department of Defense the authority to use the National Defense Stockpile to address shortages in materials "required for use, manufacture or production for purposes of national defense," the order says.
The State Department funding will allow the U.S. to provide technical assistance to counterparts in Mexico and Central America. It follows the announcement of millions in funding for U.S.-Southeast Asia initiatives, including one to upgrade customs systems and simplify procedures to reduce U.S. port delays.
Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo will host the supply chain stakeholder forum, bringing together world leaders, private companies, workers and labor organizations, indigenous communities and academic institutions, the White House said in a fact sheet.
The forum, a follow-up dialogue intended to improve supply chain resilience, will take place early next year, Biden said.
"Solving this is going to take all of us — government and private industry, labor unions and research institutions," he said at the summit.