IMTS Insider

New Administration: Industrial Policy/Supply Chain

Category: Supply Chain Mar 17, 2021


By Kathy Keyes Webster, AMT Exhibitions Content Manager – Correspondence

Important developments from Washington, D.C.

AMT VP Tim Shinbara, currently serving an ASME Congressional Fellowship supporting manufacturing technology and supply chain issues, provided Capitol Hill context about President Biden’s February Executive Order (EO) to review critical supply chains with the aim of bolstering American manufacturing in a recent IMTS interview.

In the interview session entitled Policy & Strategy New Administration: Industrial Policy/Supply Chain, Shinbara shared insight with AMT VP - Advocacy Amber Thomas and AMT CKO Pat McGibbon. Here are the highlights.

On February 24, 2021, President Biden issued an EO to assess America’s supply chain for six sectors and conduct a 100-day review of four classes of products where American manufacturers rely on imports: semiconductors, active pharmaceuticals ingredients (API), critical minerals and rare earth materials, and high-capacity batteries for use in electric vehicles.

The pandemic clearly revealed how supply chain disruptions and shortfalls have a reverberating effect. In 2020, auto production lines paused because of a lack of computer chips, health care workers made do without enough PPE, and pharmacy companies were concerned about critical drug supplies.

The six sectors under a comprehensive, year-long review include critical areas related to the Defense Industrial Base (DIB), such as information and communication technology (software, data, and associated services); transportation and energy systems; agricultural commodities and food products; other goods and materials related to the DIB; and the manufacturing or other capabilities necessary to produce the materials identified.

The EO states, “The United States needs resilient, diverse, and secure supply chains to ensure economic prosperity and national security,” as many “conditions can reduce critical manufacturing capacity and the availability and integrity of critical goods, products, and services.”

Shinbara is encouraged by a sense of synergy on the Hill, where legislators and industrial businesses speak the same language. Both parties are optimistic about legislation to encourage investments in American semiconductor manufacturing needed for vehicles, appliances, and transformational technologies like 5G and artificial intelligence. And both recognize that the U.S. government needs to invest in critical research and development to ensure America is a technology leader and not reliant on critical components from other countries.

There is also agreement that strengthening the manufacturing sector is an important driver of economic growth and job creation. AMT supported several bipartisan pieces of legislation that elevated manufacturing and technology to the top of the national agenda. Those bills could be reintroduced this year along with new bills focused on AMT’s Manufacturing Mandate priorities.

Shinbara is also hearing legislators talk about how America needs to develop a more focused, intentional approach – in some cases even described as an industrial policy – to create a level playing field for manufacturers to compete globally. A concept you don’t usually hear in Washington is now being heard more because of the need to take bold action to support those industries critical to public health and national security.

The EO is only part of a longer-term solution but provides the impetus for our leaders to develop America’s strategic solution that nurtures an ecosystem for technology development and revitalizes domestic manufacturing capacity.

AMT continues to advocate for policies that incentivize R&D and innovation, level the playing field for U.S. manufacturers to compete globally, and build a skilled workforce to take us into future with transformational technologies.

It is important to engage with your senators and representatives to let them know about your business and the issues impact it. If you need help in reaching out, contact Amber Thomas, at AThomas@AMTonline.org.

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