U.S. President Joe Biden delivers holds a semiconductor chip as he speaks prior to signing an executive order, aimed at addressing a global semiconductor chip shortage, in the State Dining Room at the White House in Washington, U.S., February 24, 2021. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst

THE NEUTRAL ZONE

President Joe Biden issued an executive order Wednesday aimed at strengthening U.S. supply chains for advanced batteries, pharmaceuticals, critical minerals and semiconductors. A shortage of personal protective equipment at the beginning of the pandemic, as well as an ongoing shortage of semiconductor chips, prompted the order. 

The president ordered a 100-day review of these four supply chains to boost American manufacturing and identify exactly how much of the U.S. supply is dependent on foreign countries like China. The order also requires reviews over the next year to address sector-specific supply chain concerns in defense, information communications technology, energy, transportation, public health and food.

Biden said he will seek $37 billion in funding for legislation to propel semiconductor manufacturing in the U.S. The world, not just the U.S., experienced a shortage in chips beginning early in the pandemic, as chip demand increased faster than expected with work from home and remote learning straining the supply. The shortage forced U.S. automakers and other manufacturers to cut production. 

Biden said that he had a productive meeting with Vice President Kamala Harris and a bipartisan group of Congress members before signing the order, noting, “it was like the old days — people actually are on the same page.” Biden also said Congress will most likely pass legislation to accompany his order. 

“The bottom line is simple,” Biden told the press. “The American people should never face shortages in the goods and services they rely on, whether that’s their car or their prescription medicines or the food at the local grocery store.”

While Biden was enthusiastic, he acknowledged that the problem won’t be solved immediately. Mandating the study was the easy part; extensively updating U.S. supply lines and reducing American dependence on foreign suppliers could prove difficult and costly. China called Biden’s efforts to shift away from foreign suppliers unrealistic and harmful to global trade.

“We hope the U.S. will earnestly respect market laws and free trade rules and uphold the safety and reliability and stability of global supply chains,” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian said.

MEDIA PERSPECTIVE

This section includes an aggregation of articles showing different viewpoints on the topic.

Biden admin plans executive order to address chip-shortage woes – Ars Technica – 2/24/2021
The order is a sort of combination of every US politicians’ favorite rallying cry—”more American jobs”—and an acknowledgement that shortages and production challenges in critical supply chains really have had a profound effect on the nation, especially in the past year. It calls for an immediate 100-day review that will “identify near-term steps the administration can take, including with Congress” to identify where the vulnerabilities in these supply chains are and what regulators or legislators can do to increase US manufacturing of these critical components.

Chip shortage can’t be used as leverage against us, Biden says – Nikkei Asia – 2/25/2021
“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 U.S. also needs to identify and build surge capacity to prepare for times of emergency and invest in research and development, the president added.

As chip shortage cripples auto production, Biden steps in – Detroit Free Press – 2/25/2021
The auto industry might get federal relief from the shortage of semiconductor chips that has crippled vehicle production over the past several weeks. […] It is a proactive step to mitigate further production disruptions to the auto industry, which has been hit hard by thechips shortage. 

Key PS5, Xbox Series X component shortages part of Biden supply chain review – CNET – 2/24/2021
The US has felt the impact of global chip shortages, with some automakers reportedly halting production in the US due to a lack of chips that help control everything from engines to air bags. The chip shortage also contributed to stock issues for electronics, including for the new Xbox Series X and PlayStation 5, both of which have been sold out in the US and globally.

INFLUENCER PERSPECTIVE

This section includes an aggregation of tweets showing different viewpoints on the topic.

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