Biden rallies world leaders at G-20 to help address global supply chain issues

US President Joe Biden addresses the media with President of the European Commission during the G20 of World Leaders Summit on October 31, 2021 at the convention center “La Nuvola” in the EUR district of Rome.

Brendan Smialowski | AFP | Getty Images

WASHINGTON – President Joe Biden convened a summit on Sunday during the annual gathering of G-20 leaders to address supply-chain challenges and other disruptions affecting global commerce.

“Supply chains are something that most of our citizens never think twice about until something goes wrong. And during this pandemic, we’ve seen delays and backlogs of goods from automobiles to electronics, from shoes to furniture,” Biden said in his debut at the G-20 since becoming president.

“Ending the pandemic is the ultimate key to unlocking the disruptions we’re all contending with. But, we have to take action now, together with our partners in the private sector, to reduce the backlogs that we’re facing,” he said. “Now that we have seen how vulnerable these lines of global commerce can be, we cannot go back to business as usual.”

Biden, alongside leaders from 14 other countries and the European Union, agreed to “foster greater international cooperation on near-term supply-chain disruptions,” according to a White House readout of the meeting. The leaders also plan to strengthen and diversify the entire supply-chain ecosystem from reliance on certain raw materials to manufacturing to shipping and distribution.

The world’s supply chain is continuing to bear the brunt of a relentless pandemic, surging consumer demand, labor shortages and overseas manufacturing delays, which has led to higher transportation costs and inflation.

In an effort to address the U.S.’s own supply-chain issues, Biden also announced the following domestic measures:

  • An Executive Order aimed at streamlining American stockpiling efforts by delegating authority to the Department of Defense to make material releases from the National Defense Stockpile. The measure will allow for a more rapid response to material shortfalls within the defense industrial base.
  • Two initiatives to promote international supply-chain resilience among U.S. partners and allies. First, the State Department will grant additional funding to provide technical assistance to Mexico and Central America counterparts to alleviate supply-chain disruptions and bottlenecks. Second, millions of dollars in funding for new U.S.-ASEAN initiatives. Both of these initiatives will improve and simplify customs and clearance procedures, reducing delays and encouraging sustainable and efficient supply chains.
  • Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo will hold a multi-stakeholder summit next year along with their foreign counterparts. The summit will be a follow-on dialogue to establish the next steps among these parties to build greater global supply-chain resilience.

Earlier this month, the Biden administration unveiled a plan to run operations 24/7 at the California ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, which account for 40% of sea freight entering the U.S.

Last week, the twin ports announced new fines on carriers at the nation’s busiest port complex in order to abate the intensifying logjam of cargo ships.

Once loaded off vessels, containers moved by trucks will have nine days before fines start accruing. Containers scheduled to move by rail will have three days.

In accordance with these deadlines, carriers will be charged $100 for each lingering container per day starting Nov. 1.



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