Biden Supply Chain Executive Order Includes Semiconductors

White House
(Image credit: Future)

President Joe Biden has issued a supply chain executive order that includes an immediate review of semiconductors, as well as rare earths, pharmaceuticals and large-capacity batteries (electric vehicles).

The President outlined the order to a bipartisan group of representatives and senators.

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"The United States is the birthplace of [semiconductor] technology, and has always been a leader in semiconductor development," the White House said. "However, over the years we have underinvested in production—hurting our innovative edge—while other countries have learned from our example and increased their investments in the industry."

The reviews, across federal agencies, must include "critical goods and materials within supply chains, the manufacturing or other capabilities needed to produce those materials, and a variety of vulnerabilities created by failure to develop domestic capabilities."

The dominance of Chinese telecoms in 5G network tech is one of the big issues in the supply chain conversation, which prompted the FCC and Congress to come up with a program to prevent government subsidies for such suspect tech, and weeding it out of current networks with a rip-and-replace program.

The White House signaled it will be looking for help from industry and others to identify supply chain threats. "The E.O. directs the Administration to consult widely with outside stakeholders, such as those in industry, academia, non-governmental organizations, communities, labor unions, and State, local, territorial, and Tribal governments," it said.

It also promised to try ensure that building more secure supply chains will, among other things, "grow the American economy, increase wages, [and] benefit small businesses and historically disadvantaged communities."

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Sen Mark Warner (D-Va.) chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, who was at the White House meeting, applauded the the Administration for "engaging lawmakers on a bipartisan basis on supply chain security, particularly as it relates to semiconductors. Today’s Executive Order is a good first start but much more work remains to be done – and quickly – including fully funding a number of enacted bills related to promoting supply chain security, resiliency and greater American competitiveness in key foundation technologies like semiconductors and wireless infrastructure," he said. "I was encouraged that in today’s meeting, there was a bipartisan consensus that supply chain security must remain a priority, and I look forward to working with President Biden and my colleagues in the Senate on this issue.”

John Eggerton

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.