Secretary Antony J. Blinken and Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo at a Virtual Ministerial Supply Chain Forum




SECRETARY BLINKEN: Welcome everyone. Good morning Good afternoon Good evening. Very happy to see everyone joining this ministerial meeting on supply chain resilience. In nearly all of our countries, people have experienced the pain caused by supply chain disruptions. We have shop owners unable to stock their shelves, people with chronic illnesses we cannot get life-saving medicines, factories sending workers home because they cannot get the necessary materials and inputs to operate their lines. More than ever, I think we have all understood how supply chains are simply essential to meet our daily needs.

They are also key to addressing virtually all of the pressing global challenges we face. To prevent climate catastrophe and adapt to the growing effects of climate change, we need resilient supply chains to produce clean energy technologies, from wind turbines to batteries. To end the acute phase of the COVID-19 pandemic and ensure we are better prepared – to respond to future health emergencies, we need resilient supply chains for vaccines and other essential medical supplies.

So this gathering today is just our latest joint effort to try to address these challenges while minimizing disruption, keeping workers on the job, and reducing costs for families. And here are some of the ways we’ve done that over the past year.

In October, we implemented the Microelectronics Early Alert System to anticipate and reduce disruptions in the supply of semiconductors that are critical to our manufacturing. Here in the United States, it has helped keep American workers working at vehicle assembly plants in Michigan and Ohio, and it has helped keep plants operating in partner economies like Mexico. and Canada.

Together with many governments at this ministerial meeting, we have launched the Minerals Supply Partnership, which will invest in the production, processing and recycling of minerals needed to manufacture clean energy technologies such as electric vehicles and solar panels.

In 2020, when COVID-19 was hitting Americans hardest, India was delivering life-saving medicines and supplies to the United States for our strained industries. When India faced a massive surge in the Delta variant the following year, we used those same supply chains to deliver medical oxygen, therapy and other life-saving aids.

Supply chains are how the United States has delivered more than 565 million doses of safe and effective COVID-19 vaccines free and unconditionally to countries around the world. And we are using supply chains to deliver food, fertilizer and lifesaving aid to populations in response to the growing global food security crisis exacerbated by Russia’s aggression against Ukraine.

As we meet today, I think we have agreed on two main objectives that we need to focus on. The first is to identify other immediate steps we can take to reduce the disruptions that affect people’s lives the most and commit to taking those steps.

The second is to build the long-term foundations that make us less vulnerable to future shocks, whether they come from natural disasters and pandemics, wars or some other crisis.

That’s resilience. Now, we all throw that word around a lot, so let me take a moment to suggest what it means to us. A resilient supply chain is a transparent chain where partners constantly share real-time information to anticipate, measure and respond to change. A resilient supply chain is diverse so that when we cannot get a material or service from one source, we can find it elsewhere, and so no country can weaponize its control over materials or inputs against a other country. This will require investing in research and development and new manufacturing capabilities.

A resilient supply chain is secure, so we are less vulnerable to cyberattacks from governments or other actors.

A resilient supply chain is sustainable, meeting labor and environmental standards that we have agreed to because they are in line with our shared values, because we have seen how governments that ignore these criteria tend to be less reliable partners, and because in 2022, any supply chain that is not environmentally sustainable will not be sustainable.

So whether we’re tackling short-term or long-term challenges, there’s only one way to build resilient supply chains in all of these ways, and that’s to do it together, with partners – with partners in government, including regional, state, city, because no country can face inevitable disruption alone; with the private sector, because while governments and multilateral institutions shape the rules of the road and can provide incentives, supply chains are ultimately designed, managed and powered by businesses and workers; and not just with industry, but with all actors in the private sector, including those who have been historically underrepresented – women, minorities, indigenous-owned businesses, small and medium-sized businesses, unions. The dynamism, diversity, ingenuity of our private sectors and the open markets in which they compete make us more agile and more efficient than closed systems. We must take advantage of this asset.

Yesterday we hosted four sessions with partners from these various groups and organizations. And what we learned will inform today’s discussion.

So I’m especially looking forward to hearing participants’ views on the challenges we face and what we can do to tackle them together.

With that, allow me to pass the baton to my teammate, my friend, my co-host of this meeting, Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo. Gina, over to you.

SECRETARY RAIMONDO: Thank you, Tony (audio interruption) More importantly, and I don’t think there’s anyone who doesn’t now understand the importance of having resilient supply chains. And for that to happen, we need to work across governments and between the public and private sectors.

We all know – we live it every day – that supply chain congestion challenges us and continues to test American imports and exports and the movement of goods here in our country. And as co-chair of our administration’s task force on supply chain disruptions, I hear — I’m aware of these issues. Frankly, I hear about these issues almost daily, if not weekly, from American businesses and consumers. And so that’s something that we really need to work together, like I said, between governments, between allies in order to solve the problems in our supply chain. And we work hard every day to alleviate this problem.

And here in the United States, we are also working hard to convince our Congress to quickly pass funding for the CHIPS Act, which would invest $52 billion in domestic semiconductor production. I will say that last night here in the United States, the United States Senate took a critical vote by a wide margin in a bipartisan way to move this bill forward, so we’re pretty optimistic that it’s coming soon on President Biden’s office. Additionally, President Biden’s proposed budget calls for millions of dollars to address the current supply chain crisis and existing demand for supply chain work.

I will say that here at the Commerce Department, we currently have over 40 supply chain related workflows going on right now, right. There is no miracle solution; there is no quick fix to solving our supply chain issues. And so we are – and working very closely with the Secretary of State and the Secretary of Energy – we’re going industry by industry, product by product, and trying to figure out how to unlock the supply chain in every way possible.

We also know – and have become very, very aware – that supply chains are global. And that’s why we need to engage with like-minded partners, like everyone in this meeting and this call, to work together if we really want to – we’ll be able to find sustainable, long-term solutions for solve our mutual problems. supply chain challenges. And the — Tony and I are working very hard with the Indo-Pacific economic framework, because it’s a way for us to work with our allies in the Indo-Pacific to work together to strengthen our supply chains. We’re also co-chairing the US-EU Trade and Technology Council, which is off to a fantastic start, and we’re making tremendous progress in both of these dialogues to ensure our supply chain is resilient. , effective and beneficial to all our citizens, industry, work, civil society; ensures that all our efforts are inclusive and that the benefits are widely shared.

And of course we know the supply chain – supply chains are privately run, fundamentally privately run. Governments therefore cannot solve the problems alone. We must and we are committed to involving private sector partners, local communities, to jointly imagine new ways of forming public-private partnerships, of innovating. And I join Tony in sharing the excitement of hearing from each of you today about how we can work together to solve these problems.

So thank you again for joining us, and I’m glad to hear from you.

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