Gardens by the Bay
Singapore, Singapore

THE VICE PRESIDENT:  Thank you.  Well, first of all, I want to welcome all of these leaders to this table.  I’m very much looking forward to a robust conversation.  We’ve put aside, I think, a good amount of time so we can really get into the details of the issue. 

But here at this table, we have leaders who are regional leaders, who are global leaders.  You represent many aspects of the supply chain issue, be it on the issue of manufacturing, the issue of logistics, finance, and then, of course, government.  And so I’m looking forward to our conversation.

As I have said many times, and I just gave a speech a few minutes ago, I do believe we are embarking on a new era, on a new moment in our — in our world that is defined in many ways by the fact of the interconnection and interdependence between nations, and linked then on the issue of health, on prosperity, and security, and also, of course, by the issue of the global supply chain.

In the United States, we remember how difficult it was during the — in particular, the beginning of the pandemic, to get basic needs, be it PPE or basic household supplies.  And we know that this was for many reasons, but there were shortages around the world, and in that way, the United States was not unique in its experience.  This was a global phenomenon. 

And we know also that when we look at the issue, we are forced to also acknowledge that this Delta variant, most recently, has continued to force manufacturers to adjust to production in order to protect frontline workers and to deal with their production demands, but also to think about how it is impacting frontline workers, how it is impacting their workforce. 

In fact, I have discussed this issue with many labor leaders in the United States who are concerned not only about workplace safety as it relates to the pandemic, but also layoffs because of the reduced production lines. 

And then families, of course, are feeling the impact of the of this, be it the rising cost of shipping or congestion at ports, or just the reduced production and what that means in terms of the stories that we are now hearing about the caution that if you want to have Christmas toys for your children, it might now — it might be the time to start buying them because the delay may be many, many months. 

So, across the board, people are experiencing the issue.  And, of course, the climate crisis is fueling a lot of this.  When we look at the stronger typhoons that have disrupted shipping lanes and sea level rise, which hasn’t — it threatens port infrastructure, as an example. 

So these are the many issues that are — that are causing these disruptions, be it a pandemic or be it the climate crisis, or what we have known from before: just the fact that the global demand for the products and goods that are produced in our supply chains is greater in many ways than the supply. 

And in that way, it is our perspective that when we look at the disruption to the supply chain, this is an issue that requires all nations, and in particular nations that are in partnership and allied, that we work together to coordinate, understanding that no one of us can actually produce or satisfy the demand.  And so there must be some collaboration and at least some coordination around what we do to meet the demand.  

And so, this is the issue that we are here to discuss.  I will say that here in Singapore, I spent a very good amount of time yesterday with the Prime Minister.  And, Minister, I want to thank you as well.  It has been a very productive conversation. 

And the Prime Minister and I announced, actually, two new efforts to ensure resilient supply chains.  One, when we launched the U.S.-Singapore Partnership for Growth and Innovation between the United States Department of Commerce and the Ministry of Trade and Industry in Singapore. 

Through our partnership, the United States and Singapore will address the immediate and long-term challenges that we face in terms of the need to enhance the supply chain resilience.  He and I had an extensive conversation about this yesterday, and we understand not only that the issue relates to our mutual vision about what we can do to improve systems, but it obviously also is about a shared challenge that we face. 

So I want to thank the Minister for his participation in that event.

We also announced a new United States-Singapore Dialogue on Supply Chains, which will bring together our top government experts to enhance cooperative efforts to promote greater supply chain resilience.  And, as you know, I just gave remarks outlining our vision for that partnership as we go forward.

I want to thank everyone here for this conversation because I do believe — again, back to this moment — there’s so much, in particular about the pandemic, that highlighted the fractures and the failures and the fissures in our systems. 

And this moment gives us the opportunity then, born out of crisis, to actually fix and find solutions to long-term issues that have challenged us, but to do it in a way that is consistent with also our vision for the future and how we can be more efficient and more collaborative, and in particular for the United States, to build on our partnership as a member of the Indo-Pacific region and as a partner who has a sustained, long-term, and ongoing relationship with Southeast Asia and, in particular, as we are here right now, with Singapore.

So I look forward to our discussion.  And, again, I thank you two for your time and for the work that you do.  Thank you.

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