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White House launches task force to address supply chain disruptions

Changes in demand amid the pandemic have contributed to disruptions in the construction, semiconductor, transportation and agricultural sectors, the White House said.

WASHINGTON — The White House announced Tuesday that it will establish a task force to address supply chain challenges in key sectors where “a mismatch between supply and demand has been evident.”

The task force will focus on “homebuilding and construction, semiconductors, transportation, and agriculture and food” and will be led by the secretaries of commerce, agriculture and transportation, the White House said.

As the U.S. has reopened its economy, changes in demand have caused the disruptions, the White House said.

“While these short-term supply chain disruptions are temporary, the president has directed his administration to closely monitor these developments and take actions to minimize the impacts on workers, consumers, and businesses in order to bolster a strong economic recovery,” it said.

The actions come as the White House released the findings of a 100-day review of critical U.S. supply chain issues in a 250-page report Tuesday. The report includes recommendations that the White House said “will not only strengthen the four prioritized supply chains, but will rebuild the U.S. industrial base and restart our innovation engine.”

The Department of Health and Human Services, for example, will use the Defense Production Act to help produce essential medicine domestically. The administration will also establish a new trade “strike force” that would propose unilateral and multilateral enforcement actions against unfair foreign trade practices.

The Department of Interior, meanwhile, will establish a working group to identify sites where critical minerals could be produced and processed in the U.S. while abiding by environmental, labor and sustainability standards. The Department of Energy will take actions to boost domestic production of batteries and battery ingredients, and the Department of Labor will announce $100 million in grants for state-led apprenticeship efforts.

The White House said the administration has already taken actions to address the disruption, including expanding vaccine manufacturing and acquiring essential supplies, investing by the Department of Defense in the expansion of rare earth element mining outside of China and addressing cyber vulnerabilities to supply chains.