Michael Stumo \ January 3, 2022 \ The Washington Times
In addition to the health crisis spawned by the COVID-19 pandemic, the United States is now experiencing significant shortages of consumer goods.
These troubles extend across a wide range of products, including everything from bicycles and cars to prescription medicines. But the problems run even deeper since some U.S. companies cannot assemble products without needed components from overseas. It’s a challenge that doesn’t affect all companies equally, however. Despite a global slowdown, U.S. manufacturers that have chosen to rely on domestic suppliers are doing good business right now.
Clearly, plenty of U.S. companies are struggling, though. And what’s hampering their work is a breakdown in the transoceanic supply chains that extend from Asia all the way to factories in America’s heartland. Realistically, it’s a crisis spawned by America’s hefty over-reliance on imports. The solution, however, is for America to start reclaiming these manufacturing sectors and become more self-sufficient. The good news, though, is that a number of U.S. manufacturers are already demonstrating the advantages of relying on domestic suppliers.
How exactly has the COVID-19 pandemic led to product shortages? There are several factors. As just one example, when the coronavirus first emerged, many countries banned exports of essential medicines and health care materials to conserve supplies. That left U.S. hospitals struggling to address basic medicines and personal protective equipment shortages.
This was merely the start of a domino-like effect of shortages across many industries. Factories and ports in China and other countries slowed down — or halted production entirely. Since then, demand has continued to climb, particularly for household goods sold by Amazon and other online retailers. As a result, overseas producers are struggling to play catch-up with global demand.