Thu, 05 Aug 2021

WASHINGTON D.C.: To respond to unfair Chinese trade practices, the United States will target China with a new "strike force", the Biden administration said on Tuesday.

During the Tuesday announcement, the White House revealed findings of a review of U.S. access to critical products, from semiconductors to electric-vehicle batteries.

The newly created "supply chain trade strike force," will seek out specific violations that have contributed to a "hollowing out" of supply chains, which could then be addressed with trade remedies, including targeting China, administration officials told the media.

Additionally, U.S. officials said the Department of Commerce was considering initiating an investigation into the national security impact of magnet imports used in motors and other industrial applications, which the United States largely purchases from China.

President Joe Biden has ordered the investigation of specifically named supply chains, requiring executive agencies to report back on the risks to U.S. access of critical goods, including those needed in pharmaceuticals, as well as rare earth minerals, for which the United States is dependent on overseas sources.

Beyond China, the review is part of a Biden administration strategy to strengthen U.S. competitiveness, in the face of economic challenges coming from China.

The United States faces severe bottlenecks in a number of areas, including computer chips, which has slowed the production of goods, such as automobiles.

U.S. agencies are also being required to issue complete reports within one year after Biden's order, identifying gaps in domestic manufacturing capabilities and policies to address them.

"Obviously, a number of Chinese industrial policies have contributed to vulnerable U.S. supply chains," an official said. "I think you are going to see this strike force focusing in feeding into some of our China policy developments," as quoted by Reuters.

The United States was not looking to "wage trade wars with our allies and partners," the official added, noting the strike force would be focused on "very targeted products."

Recently, Biden said China would not surpass the United States as a global leader while he is president. Confronting Beijing has become one of the few bipartisan issues members of Congress agree on.

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