US President Joe Biden will direct his administration to conduct a review of key U.S. supply chains, including those for semiconductors, high-capacity batteries, medical supplies and rare earth metals.
The assessment, which will be led by members of Biden’s economic and national security teams, will analyze the “resiliency and capacity of the American manufacturing supply chains and defense industrial base to support national security [and] emergency preparedness,” according to a draft of an executive order seen by Leading Media House.
Text of the executive order is being finalized & the ultimate language could vary from the current draft.
White House plans to review gaps in domestic manufacturing & supply chains that are dominated by or run through “nations that are or are likely to become unfriendly or unstable.”
Though the order does not mention China, the directive is likely in large part an effort by the administration to determine how reliant the U.S. economy and military are on a critical group of Chinese exports. Joe Biden said earlier this month that his White House is gearing up for “extreme competition” with China.
Pending executive order is one of the administration’s first tangible efforts to evaluate and shore up American business and defense interests through a thorough review of where key raw materials come from.
The White House review will take place in two phases.
1st will consist of a hundred-day review process, during which officials will analyze & report on a handful of high-priority supply chains, including those for semiconductor manufacturing and packaging, high-capacity and electric car batteries, rare earth metals & medical supplies.
2nd phase — beginning after the specific, hundred-day review — will broaden the administration’s investigation to various sectors, including the production of equipment for defense, public health, energy & transportation.
After those 2 are complete, 1 year after the order is issued, the task force will submit recommendations to the president on potential actions, including diplomatic agreements, trade-route edits or other ways to ensure supply chains are not monopolized.
White House did not respond to media house’s request for comment.
Politicians and defense analysts on both sides of the political aisle have in recent years highlighted U.S. dependence on China for rare earth metals — a group of minerals used in the production of advanced technologies, including computer screens, state-of-the-art weapons & electric vehicles — as a potential strategic pitfall.
During a Senate Energy & Natural Resources Committee meeting last year, Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, asked panelist Simon Moores what might happen if China decided to cut off the U.S. from the minerals.
Moores, managing director at Benchmark Mineral Intelligence, said that such a move would leave the U.S. with few options and prove devastating to the U.S. economy.
“If lithium is anything to go by, China would stop short of weaponising rare earths (blocking exports to US) favouring the economic route of exporting its processing knowhow to new mines around the world,” Moores wrote on Twitter in 2019. “A far more savvy way to gain long term supply chain.”