#2021WCA: U.S. Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo

The pandemic is underscoring the need for the United States to reshore much of its supply chain in critical areas, said the secretary.


  • Gina Raimondo, U.S. Secretary of Commerce
  • Eric Farnsworth, Vice President, Council of the Americas (moderator)

The private sector has to play a role in the Western Hemisphere’s economic rebuilding and recovery, said Secretary Gina Raimondo in her remarks at the 51st Washington Conference on the Americas. “The government alone can’t address problems of inequality or job creation or building back after the pandemic," said the secretary, a former venture capitalist. “The private sector’s creativity, innovation, engine of growth—they have to also come to the table. And I’m eager to engage in those public-private partnerships.”

During the Q&A period, Elizabeth Reicherts, interim senior vice president of global public policy for General Motors, asked the secretary what the next steps were for the Biden administration to rectify the semiconductor chip shortage crisis.

"I begin and end my day every day thinking about this issue,” replied the secretary. She said that in the short-term, she is lobbying the Taiwanese to see if they’d be able to fill some of the demand. That said, “the medium- and long-term solution is making more chips in America, designing more chips in America,” she said, adding that the president has called for a $50 billion investment in producing the chips in the United States.

Semiconductors are one critical sector—along with pharmaceuticals, certain metals, and chemicals—where Raimondo said the pandemic has shown that supply chains need to be reshored. “We are very vulnerable…It’s critical for our national and economic security,” she said, citing the 25 percent of small- and medium-sized manufacturers in the United States that went out of business in the past year. “The next best thing to onshoring is nearshoring with our allies that share our values.”