Joe Biden

Remarks at the Global Summit on Supply Chain Resilience in Rome, Italy

October 31, 2021

Thank you all for joining us today. I think the Prime Minister may be still occupied in another part of the building, so we're going to begin.

We're going to bring our shared attention to the vital issue that is impacting on all of our countries: supply chain disruptions. 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.

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. And then we have to prevent this from happening again in the future.

Now that we have seen how vulnerable these lines of global commerce can be, we cannot go back to business as usual. This pandemic won't be the last global health crisis we face. We also need to increase our resilience in the face of climate change, natural disasters, and even planned attacks.

Many of our supply chains are almost entirely owned and operated by the private sector. But government can play a key role identifying supply chain risks and bringing the different pieces and actors together to address these vulnerabilities.

In the United States, my administration has focused on this from our earliest days of the administration, which is not that long ago—[laughter]—just January 20 of this year. In February, we began directing new investments to strengthen supply chains at home and to work with partners to bolster supply chains around the world.

Last month, we launched an early warning system to help get ahead of the global supply chain disruptions from—for computer chips, which impacts so many industries in my country and all of yours.

Just a few weeks ago, we were able to facilitate an agreement with key unions, retailers, and freight movers to begin operating two of the largest ports in the United States that account for 40 percent of the imports on the West Coast: the Port of Los Angeles and the Port of Long Beach, California. So we got them to move from 5 days a week, 8 hours a day, to 24 hours a day and 7 days a week.

I'm going to help get—it's going to help get goods on the shelves faster. And our Build Back Better framework provides, for the first time, funding dedicated to monitoring and strengthening supply chains.

Today I'm announcing two further steps: First, I'm allocating additional funding to help American partners, as well as the United States, cut port congestion by slashing redtape and reducing processing times so that ships can get in and out of our ports faster.

And second, I'm signing an Executive order that will strengthen our management of the United States defense stockpiles for minerals and materials. It will allow us to react and respond more quickly to shortfalls in the industrial base.

I urge all of you—all of you—to consider bolstering your stockpiles critical to national security in your countries. But like so many challenges today, it isn't a problem any one of our nations can solve through unilateral actions. Coordination is the key, the reason for this meeting. The best way to reduce current delays and build in greater resilience for the future is to work together across the entire supply chain, from raw materials to warehousing and distribution.

Our supply chain should be: one, diversified, so that we're not dependent on any one single source that might cause a failure; secure—secure against natural and manmade threats, including cyber and criminal attacks, like ransomware; and transparent so that both government and the private sector can better anticipate and respond to shortages that may be coming down the pike; and sustainable, to ensure our supply chains are free from forced and child labor, supporting the dignity and the voice of workers and are in line with our climate goals.

Because, at the end of the day, supply chain resilience is really about all of our people, the workers around the world who make the flow of goods possible: factory workers, dockworkers, welders, shipping crews, truckers, childcare providers, locomotives, so many other pieces.

Solving this is going to take all of us: government and private industry, labor unions and research institutions. So I'm directing my Secretary of State—Secretaries of State and Commerce to chair a multistakeholder forum in the beginning of next year to bring all these key parties together with relevant officials from all of our governments to chart a path forward.

I look forward to hearing from each of you and finding ways we can work together to increase our resilience and enhance our shared prosperity.

Now I'm going to turn it over to Secretary Blinken to actually make sure the trains run on time here.

NOTE: The President spoke at 5:28 p.m. at La Nuvola convention center. In his remarks, he referred to Prime Minister Mario Draghi of Italy. He also referred to Executive Order 14051.

Joseph R. Biden, Remarks at the Global Summit on Supply Chain Resilience in Rome, Italy Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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