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Biden administration sets up ‘strike force’ to go after China on trade; task force created to address microchips, other industries

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WASHINGTON — The United States will focus on China with a new “strike force” to beat unfair trade methods, the Biden administration claimed on Tuesday, as it rolled out results of a evaluate of U.S. access to essential items, from semiconductors to EV batteries.

The “source chain trade strike force,” led by the U.S. trade consultant, will look for particular violations that have contributed to a “hollowing out” of source chains that could be resolved with trade remedies, together with toward China, senior administration officers told reporters.

Officers also claimed the Department of Commerce was looking at initiating a Part 232 investigation into the nationwide security impression of neodymium magnet imports applied in motors and other industrial apps, which the U.S. largely sources from China.

President Joe Biden requested the evaluate of essential source chains in February, demanding executive organizations to report back within just 100 times on risks to U.S. access to essential goods like people applied in prescribed drugs as effectively as rare earth minerals, for which the U.S. is dependent on overseas sources.

While not explicitly directed at China, the evaluate is element of a broader Biden administration method to shore up U.S. competitiveness in the encounter of financial worries posed by the world’s next most significant economic climate.

“Semiconductors are the building blocks that underpin so substantially of our economic climate, and are essential to our nationwide security, our financial competitiveness, and our daily lives,” U.S. Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo claimed in a assertion.

The U.S. faced major worries receiving medical tools through the COVID-19 epidemic and now faces serious bottlenecks in a variety of parts, together with personal computer chips, stalling output of goods these kinds of as light vehicles and vans.

U.S. organizations are required to issue more finish studies a calendar year soon after Biden’s buy, figuring out gaps in domestic production capabilities and policies to deal with them.

A senior formal claimed the U.S. experienced faced unfair trade methods from “a variety of foreign governments” throughout all four of the source chains covered in the first evaluate, together with authorities subsidies and pressured mental property transfers.

“Of course, a variety of Chinese industrial policies have contributed to susceptible U.S. source chains,” the formal claimed. “I consider you are likely to see this strike force concentrating in feeding into some of our China coverage developments.”

The United States was not looking to “wage trade wars with our allies and associates,” the formal added, noting the strike force would be targeted on “really qualified items.”

But the senior officers provided minor in the way of new steps to quickly ease chip source shortages, noting in a simple fact sheet that the Commerce Department would operate to “aid information circulation” between chip makers and finish end users and improve transparency, a stage Reuters formerly noted.

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