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Biden launches major federal supply chain initiative

President Biden is focusing on supply chain issues.

President Joe Biden is establishing a high-level White House supply chain council and announcing nearly 30 new supply chain-related actions.

Biden is creating the White House Council on Supply Chain Resilience, which will hold its inaugural meeting on Monday, Nov. 27, 2023. The council is intended to advance what Biden says is a long-term, government-wide strategy to build enduring supply chain resilience.  

In an executive order, the White House outlined a wide variety of federal actions designed to “help Americans get the products they need when they need them, enable reliable deliveries for businesses, strengthen our agriculture and food systems, and support good-paying, union jobs (in the U.S.).”

The actions of most interest to retailers and their supply chain partners include:  

  • The Department of Commerce’s new, first-of-its-kind Supply Chain Center is integrating industry expertise and data analytics to develop supply chain risk assessment tools and is coordinating deep-dive analyses on select critical supply chains to drive targeted actions to increase resilience. 
  • The Department of Transportation’s (DOT) Freight Logistics Optimization Works (“FLOW”) program is a public-private partnership that brings together U.S. supply chain stakeholders to create a shared, common picture of supply chain networks and facilitate a more reliable flow of goods. As the effort continues to mature, DOT will work with the Department of Agriculture (USDA) to increase data transparency for containerized shipments of agricultural products in the U.S.
  • USDA is making investments worth $196 million to strengthen domestic food supply chains and create more opportunity for farmers and entrepreneurs in 37 states and in Puerto Rico. These investments, which build on prior investments in diversified food processing, resilient agricultural markets, and fertilizer production, are intended to lower food costs.
  • DOE’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) Advanced Materials and Manufacturing Technologies Office (AMMTO) is sponsoring a study by the National Academies of Science, Engineering, and Medicine to develop a nationwide plan for smart manufacturing. The report will establish key priorities for investment to support new digital and artificial intelligence technologies. 
  • DOT is launching its Office of Multimodal Freight Infrastructure and Policy. This office is responsible for maintaining and improving the condition and performance of the nation’s multimodal freight network including through the development of the National Multimodal Freight Network, review of state freight plans, and the continued advancement of the FLOW initiative in partnership with the Bureau of Transportation Statistics.
  • The Department of Labor (DOL) updated its Comply Chain guidance for identifying and addressing labor rights violations in global supply chains. In addition, DOL is providing $8 million for two four-year projects to identify supply chain traceability methods and technologies to address child labor or forced labor risks in diverse supply chains, such as the cotton sector. 

On Nov. 16, 2023, President Biden signed the Presidential Memorandum on Advancing Worker Empowerment, Rights, and High Labor Standards Globally. The president directed several departments to address labor rights abuses in global supply chains and identify innovative approaches to promote internationally recognized labor rights throughout the supply chain, including by collaborating with labor organizations, workers, and other labor stakeholders to consider efforts that support worker-led monitoring of labor rights compliance.

The new Council will be co-chaired by the National Security Advisor and National Economic Advisor, and include the Secretaries of Agriculture, Commerce, Defense, Energy, Health and Human Services, Homeland Security, Housing and Urban Development, the Interior, Labor, State, Transportation, the Treasury, and Veterans Affairs; the Attorney General; the Administrators of the Environmental Protection Agency and the Small Business Administration; the Directors of National Intelligence, the Office of Management and Budget, and the Office of Science and Technology Policy; the Chair of the Council of Economic Advisers; the U.S. Trade Representative; and other senior officials from the Executive Office of the President and other federal agencies.

[Read more: Biden aims executive order at AI safety]

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