The Big Ideas

Center for Strategic & International Studies (CSIS)

Center for Strategic & International Studies (CSIS)

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Bill Reinsch

Senior Adviser and Scholl Chair in International Business

'Buy American!': Pushing U.S. Companies to Onshore Supply Chains
'Buy American!': Pushing U.S. Companies to Onshore Supply Chains
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April 6, 2021
BIG IDEA | The debate about how to deal with China commercially ‘has moved in two directions: running faster—improving our innovation capabilities in critical technologies to better compete with China—and slowing China down by restricting its access to U.S. technology.’
[I have reorganized Bill Reinsch’s excellent analysis ‘Buy American!’ to focus on government pressure on U.S. companies to restructure their supply chains in ways that favor domestic production.]

Five factors are pushing U.S. companies to restructure their supply chains in ways that favor domestic production.’

First, ‘refocusing supply chain management on resiliency and redundancy as result of the pandemic.’

  • ‘Managers need not only plan A, but plan B and plan C as well, and all those alternatives will involve more domestic sourcing or nearshoring.’
  • ‘They will also involve some movement away from just-in-time manufacturing to rebuilding inventories.’

Second, the ‘deteriorating relationship with China.’ The debate has moved in two directions:’

  • ‘running faster—improving our innovation capabilities in critical technologies to better compete with China—'
  • ‘and slowing China down by restricting its access to U.S. technology.’

‘Both strategies have involved efforts to reorient supply chains away from China, sometimes by banning the use of Chinese equipment in the United States, as in the case of Huawei, and sometimes by encouraging companies to “decouple” from China and return manufacturing on shore.’

Third, dealing with critical sectors.

  • ‘The government has further encouraged U.S. companies to restructure their supply chains in ways that favor domestic production that by beginning the process of identifying critical sectors of the economy, where companies in those sectors will be encouraged, probably through tax benefits, to return to the United States.’

Fourth, ‘changing U.S. government procurement rules to further favor domestic production’ – ‘Buy American.’

  • ‘We treat some parts and components incorporated into a product as domestic even if they are imported.’
  • ‘Changing that methodology will force some manufacturers to adjust their supply chains to include more U.S. content.’

Fifth, defining ‘national security.’

  • ‘There were officials in the Trump administration who defined it very broadly, and a glance at President Biden’s supply chain executive order shows similar breadth.’
  • ‘President Biden has ordered urgent studies on four critical sectors: semiconductor manufacturing and packaging, batteries, critical minerals, and pharmaceuticals.'
  • ‘He has also ordered year-long studies of major sectors of the economy: defense industrial base, public health, information and communications technology, energy, transportation, and agriculture.’

‘Taken together, these sectors amount to nearly 60 percent of U.S. GDP.’

  • ‘If all the studies recommend actions to reorient supply chains to the domestic economy, the administration’s policy will have a significant impact’ on U.S. companies' decisions.'

CHINADebate

CHINADebate

The Big Ideas

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'Are you tired of losing yet, America?'

As I write this, Taliban forces have entered Kabul and are reportedly occupying the Presidential Palace.
Malcolm Riddell
Founder of CHINADebate
8/15/2021

Bloomberg

CHINADebate

The Big Ideas

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'China Signals More Regulation for Businesses in Coming Years'

‘The State Council’s statement provides a guiding context to interpret current regulatory thrusts. The blueprint as an attempt by Chinese authorities to help investors understand the motives behind the regulatory push.’
8/15/2021

The Wall Street Journal

CHINADebate

The Big Ideas

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George Soros

'Xi’s Dictatorship Threatens the Chinese State'

‘Mr. Xi is determined to bring the creators of wealth under the control of the one-party state.’
George Soros
8/15/2021

Credit Suisse

CHINADebate

The Big Ideas

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8/15/2021

CHINADebate

CHINADebate

The Big Ideas

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Don't Say Xi Jinping Didn't Warn You

‘Global investors are shocked to have discovered that China is run by Communists.’
Malcolm Riddell
Founder of CHINADebate
8/5/2021

Bloomberg

CHINADebate

The Big Ideas

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Matthew Brooker | Bloomberg

‘Global investors shocked to have discovered that China is run by Communists.’

‘Global investors are shocked to have discovered that China is run by Communists.’
Matthew Brooker | Bloomberg
8/5/2021

Bloomberg

CHINADebate

The Big Ideas

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'Shocked Investors Scour Xi’s Old Speeches to Find Next Target'

‘While China’s policy moves can feel ad hoc particularly to foreign investors, the changes are quite targeted on certain sectors.’
8/5/2021

The Wall Street Journal

CHINADebate

The Big Ideas

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Greg Ip | The Wall Street Journal

'China Wants Manufacturing—Not the Internet—to Lead the Economy'

‘Social media, e-commerce and other consumer internet companies are nice to have. But in his view national greatness doesn’t depend on having the world’s finest group chats or ride-sharing.’
Greg Ip | The Wall Street Journal
8/5/2021