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Biden to review U.S. access to goods needed to deal with pandemic


WASHINGTON (Reuters) – President Joe Biden is planning to take an executive action mandating a review of critical U.S. supply chains with an eye to securing U.S. industrial supplies made by competitors including China, according to four people familiar with the matter.

FILE PHOTO: U.S. President Joe Biden walks from Marine One to the White House in Washington, U.S., January 29, 2021. REUTERS/Tom Brenner

The action, which will focus both on government contractors and private industry, aims to ensure the United States can supply the goods it needs to combat the COVID-19 crisis, as well as other critical technology and raw materials, the sources said.

Biden will sign an order mandating a 100-day review to ensure domestic manufacturers can deliver the country’s needed supplies and that demands for goods that must be satisfied by other countries are done in a more secure and sustainable manner.

That will be followed by further review and actions taken by several executive branch agencies over a one-year period, according to two people familiar with the plans, one of whom read a draft of an order Biden will sign. The actions will involve the White House National Security Council as well as the Departments of Justice, Homeland Security and Commerce, according to two of the people.

One administration official said the action, which Biden promised on the campaign trail, would take place “in the weeks ahead” and should enjoy bipartisan support. Another person said it was expected this month.

A White House spokesman did not respond to a request for comment.

Biden has made extensive use of executive orders that do not require congressional support as he works to undo the actions of Republican predecessor Donald Trump and as lawmakers debate his first major piece of legislation, a COVID-19 relief package.

Not even a week into his term, Biden signed another order putting stricter requirements in place that the government buy more of the goods and services it uses from domestic suppliers.

The policies are part of a push to revive the manufacturing sector, which accounts for about an eighth of the country’s output and is a major source of jobs in Midwestern states that have been closely contested by Democrats and Republicans.

The United States has experienced a critical shortage of face masks, testing supplies and vaccine ingredients, all of which have hobbled its response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Increasing diplomatic tensions between the United States and China have also raised concerns about a variety of manufacturing shortages, including for the microchips needed in computers.

Reporting by Michael Martina, Trevor Hunnicutt and Alexandra Alper; Editing by Sonya Hepinstall and Peter Cooney



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