Can the US move to strengthen the supply chain be realized?

The two parties in the U.S. Congress have recently revealed that they are preparing a new bill that claims to “strengthen the U.S. supply chain” and “beat China.” Prior to this, US President Biden had signed an executive order directing a 100-day review of the supply chain of industries such as high-capacity batteries, pharmaceuticals, rare earth minerals, and semiconductor chips. Biden pointed out that the United States needs a flexible, diversified and secure supply chain, and ordered the President’s National Security Affairs Assistant, the Department of Commerce, and the Department of Energy to perform their duties and participate in this huge industrial verification work. This is the first time that the U.S. government has conducted “self-examination and self-correction” on domestic industrial problems through political mobilization after the war.

The White House’s high-profile policy announcement and mobilization can be explained from three aspects. First, the White House is trying to do a good job of “survey and statistics” on the national economy and industrial economy in order to achieve accurate decision-making, especially for the upcoming trillion-dollar economic stimulus plan to be “targeted.” Second, the introduction of the Foreign Investment Risk Assessment Modernization Act of 2018 (FIRRMA) is inevitable. The core connotation of FIRRMA, which was officially implemented in February last year, is to protect the security of the strategically significant “military industrial complex” of the United States. The focus of this wave of industrial reviews in the United States is also to highlight the security of core technology industries, and to lay a solid foundation on this basis. The stability and sustainability of the industry. Third, try to shape the embryonic form of “Biden Economics”. Unlike previous presidents, Biden’s words in his inauguration speech were low-key. In terms of domestic economic governance, he differed from Obama and Trump’s high-profile announcements of “reindustrialization” and “rejuvenation of employment in the United States”. Industries that can reduce external dependence, and strive to introduce more rational, efficient, and targeted domestic economic governance programs.

The U.S. government has realized that many of the problems in the U.S. stem from deep-seated reasons such as the imbalance of domestic economic factors, the failure of governance, and the domestic economic structure. Previously, many voices in the US industry and strategy circles suggested that the US government consolidate basic manufacturing. US leaders, including Obama and Trump, also used this as campaign strategy and political rhetoric, but the actual effect was not obvious. The senior management of the US government has long been satisfied with the benefits of the country’s industrial structure, but has no perseverance to continue to push for change. However, in the beginning of Biden’s administration, the severe internal and external environment faced by the United States forced him to face the crisis, clarify the domestic industrial structure, promote the improvement of the independence and integrity of the industrial chain, and try to consolidate the foundation of the hegemonic industry. This reflects that after the hegemony of the United States has repeatedly hit the wall, under the guidance of pragmatism, restarting the turning ability after hitting the wall, there is still a certain strategic rationality and strategic adjustment ability.

After the war, the United States became the main supplier of “public goods”, but it obviously would not use its core high-tech industries to support the development of other countries. Outsourcing or making direct investment overseas of low-tech, low- and mid-end manufacturing that can solve jobs and create tax revenue will help expand the scope of American business power and strengthen these countries’ dependence on the United States. As a result, the industrial structure of the United States is relatively “distorted.” The country is mainly based on high-tech military-industrial complexes and financial and high-end service industries, while primary industrial products and consumables mainly rely on imports. This industrial structure is based on the comparative advantages of business logic. In peacetime, the United States can achieve favorable foreign trade advantages. However, in the context of competition among major powers, especially in the context of special public health incidents or natural disasters, high-tech products are instead. Relatively lack of use, the serious shortage of people’s livelihood and basic products needed to fight natural disasters will inevitably cause the government to respond passively and expose the “vulnerabilities” of powerful countries.

At a time when globalization is hindered and the epidemic is still the main challenge for global sustainable development, the international community expects that China and the United States can work together to provide “public goods” and exert their due leadership. However, the US government still implements “America First” in a disguised form and continues to pursue a certain form of isolationism and nationalism, which falls short of the expectations of the international community. The reality is that when globalization has entered in-depth adjustments and encountered deep-seated challenges, the US government has used administrative power to forcefully reverse the global supply chain, forcibly change economic laws, and artificially promote the “transfer” and “decoupling” of industries. This is unrealistic in itself. .

The epidemic is a signal that globalization requires in-depth cooperation, and should not be an excuse for artificially fragmenting the market. What the world needs is a leadership that can deeply understand the current crisis, put forward rational judgments and solutions from the standpoint of mankind, provide “public products”, and coordinate and integrate world forces to respond to the crisis. If the U.S. political elites do not change their closed-loop thinking, the road to revitalization of specific U.S. industries will face numerous difficulties. In the face of China’s development, the best choice for the United States is not to reject China, but to seek a win-win situation with China.