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With G20 leaders, Biden sets steps to ease supply chain woes

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US President Joe Biden, speaking to reporters after the G20 summit in Rome on October 31, 2021, announced moves by world leaders to alleviate global supply chain back-ups./AFP
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Nov 01, 2021 - 03:07 AM

WASHINGTON — US President Joe Biden, facing mounting complaints at home over supply chain troubles that have slowed economic recovery and pushed prices up, on Sunday announced new measures to ease global back-ups after meeting with his G20 counterparts in Rome.

A White House statement said a summit meeting in Rome on “supply chain resilience” included Biden, the European Union and leaders of 14 other countries including India, Australia and South Korea.

In a briefing Sunday, Biden said the leaders would work “to make sure we have access to all the product we need, from shoes to furniture to electronics to automobiles… to secure ourselves against these future shocks, whether it’s pandemic, climate change or disasters.”

With manufacturers, retail business and “most of our citizens” severely affected, Biden said earlier, “We cannot go back to business as usual.”

The supply summit, the White House said, aimed to “foster greater international cooperation on near-term supply chain disruptions and chart a course to strengthen and diversify the entire supply chain ecosystem over the long term — from raw materials… to shipping, logistics, warehousing and distribution.”

Supply chain woes and labor shortages have been a drag on an already uneven economic recovery, pushing up prices and raising fears among economists, politicians and ordinary Americans of a prolonged period of higher prices.

US Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg has said supply problems will probably continue into next year.

Biden said the leaders in Rome had discussed an array of actions to remedy congestion, cut red tape and “reduce the backlog that we’re facing.”

Among concrete steps planned by the United States, the White House said, would be to provide new financial aid to Mexico and Central American countries to resolve logistical back-ups, as well as to Southeast Asian nations to help them streamline customs procedures.

The statement said Biden would issue an executive order aimed at streamlining the supply chain affecting important military material.

A yet-to-be scheduled international summit next year will bring together private companies, labor organizations and governmental agencies to explore further remedies, the White House said.

“Coordination is key,” said Biden. “We need to work together.”

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