Kristi Zentner and Heather Marks, attorneys in Cozen O’Connor’s Customs, Imports and Trade Remedies practice group, discuss how recommendations from Biden’s Supply Chain Task Force could lead to real progress towards the return of the domestic manufacture of critical supplies.
Initially, the task force’s recommendations appear to be a matter of âtriage,â says Marks. “They’re trying to take a gigantic problem and put it down into small, achievable moments.” The underlying goal is to âchange the lensâ to position US supply chains to take a proactive approach to potential disruptions.
The immediate need is to establish a reliable national supply of vaccines, related supplies and semiconductors. The COVID-19 pandemic, along with the sudden shortage of semiconductors for a range of high-tech products, has alerted Americans to the need for a major shift in procurement strategies and risk management of the supply chain.
Zentner believes the administration’s efforts could form the basis of an agreement between the two major political parties that a strong nation-building base is essential to the nation’s future. But the effort won’t happen overnight, says Marks. The government will need to convince the business sector to make substantial investments in relocation – “to realize the many benefits of playing in the long run and reverting to American manufacturing.” They’re going to have to adhere to that.
The initiative will also require a concerted effort by business and government to attract and train American workers. To get there, Zentner says, companies will need to dramatically increase salaries and other incentives for potential employees. âThe question is,â Marks says, âcan you make these positions attractive enough to make sure that the human capital that we have stays here? It is a question of the tenth degree minimum wage.