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Manufacturing: Economic Shocks may Revive US Competitiveness

By Dick Weisinger

Trade wars and supply chains crushed by the COVID-19 pandemic are serving as catalysts for considering the revival of US manufacturing.

With the supply chain link with China effectively broken during this period of uncertainty, people are thinking of ways to develop alternative manufacturing suppliers that may be more resistant to political trade wars and disruptions.

Cory Booker, Democratic US Senator, said that “the coronavirus has highlighted our economy’s troubling over-reliance on China for supplies. These vulnerabilities we’re seeing in our supply chain speak to our failure as a country to invest in our own competitiveness. To remain competitive and keep innovative technologies and capabilities in the U.S., the federal government must partner with the private sector to increase access to capital.”

To rebuild manufacturing in the US would require enormous investment. Dan Breznitz, Chair of Innovation Studies at the University of Toronto said that China is four decades ahead of us in building out manufacturing infrastructure. It would likely take investment of billions of dollars made over multiple years. The US needs the will to invest in a “set of complementary institutions, human capital [and] knowledge.” Breznitz advocates the creation of regional manufacturing hubs in the US,

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