Biden rushes to address global computer chip shortage with latest executive order

Joanna Estrada
February 26, 2021

The executive order is aimed at addressing the global semiconductor chip shortage (and other shortages) that has forced auto makers and other manufacturers to cut production and which has alarmed the White House and members of Congress, Reuters quoted administration officials as saying. Once completed, they said, the Biden administration would work with allies to ensure there are reliable supply chains. "I'll push for that as well".

As part of the order, the government will conduct an immediate 100-day review to address vulnerabilities in the supply chains of four key products including APIs, which are the part of a pharmaceutical product that contain the active drug. "We urge the president and Congress to invest ambitiously in domestic chip manufacturing and research", the Semiconductor Industry Association (SIA) said earlier on Wednesday. The order also calls for a more in-depth one-year review of a broader range of supply chains including those that support the defense industrial base, public health, information and communications technology, the energy sector, transportation industries, and supply chains for agricultural commodities as well as food production. "All of these masks will be made in America, and will not impact availability of masks for health care workers".

While the review has yet to begin, "we're expecting we'll be using a mix of incentives to encourage production here, looking at ways to ensure there's surge capacity" but also "stockpiling, working with our allies and partners to make sure that we have cross-border open flows", Peter Harrell, the council's senior director for global economics and competitiveness, told reporters at the same briefing. The review is meant to to identify near term steps that could be taken.

The silicon shortage has had a dramatic impact on auto production around the world. The Republicans comprised Senators John Cornyn, Mike Braun, Marsha Blackburn, Rob Portman, and Representatives John Joyce and Michael McCaul.

"We can not let China get ahead of us in chip production", Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer warned.

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General Motors also confirmed it was extending its production cuts at three North American factories. We turned wearing masks into a political statement.

U.S. semiconductor companies account for 47 percent of global chip sales, but only 12 percent of global manufacturing is done in the United States, according to the Semiconductor Industry Association.

Portman, who served as U.S. Trade Representative during the administration of President George W. Bush, said he spoke to Taiwan's ambassador on Wednesday in an effort to secure more semiconductors.

"In some cases, building resilience will mean increasing our production of certain types of elements here at home; in others it will mean working more closely with our trusted friends and partners, nations that share our values so that our supply chains can't be used against us as leverage", Biden said before signing the executive order, in an apparent allusion to China's role in American supply chains.

The review will also look at limiting imports of certain materials and train United States workers to ramp up production at home.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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