Biden Plans Supply Chain Review After Virus Caused Shortages

President Joe Biden will order a government-wide review of critical supply chains, in an effort to reduce U.S. reliance on countries such as China for essential medical supplies and minerals, according to people familiar with the matter.

The administration’s goal is to protect government and private sector supply chains to prevent future shortages and limit other countries’ ability to exert leverage over the U.S., according to an administration official.

Concerns over importing essential materials have mounted amid the coronavirus pandemic as the U.S. has struggled to obtain enough personal protective equipment like masks and hospital gowns from manufacturers overseas.

The administration plans to work with allies to ensure a collective approach, according to the official.

Biden’s executive order is expected to direct a number of agencies to produce reports on sectors defined as critical, said two people who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss the draft document. Agencies would have one year to write their final reports, while some initial reports would be due in the first half of this year, one of the people said.

It’s not clear when the president will issue the order and whether it directs agencies to take any action once the critical sectors are identified.

The Trump administration had promised a thorough supply chain review after the virus hit the U.S., with the goal of ending the country’s reliance on adversaries.

That study never materialized.

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