US and European strategies for resilient supply chains

Think tank: Chatham House

Author(s): Marianne Schneider-Petsinger

September 14, 2021

This report from UK think tank Chatham House looks at how to balance globalisation and sovereignty.

The US, the EU and the UK hold a leading position in international trade and the global economy, and enjoy wide-reaching economic partnerships with Asia-Pacific nations. Governments in the US and Europe have a critically important role to play in supporting firms’ efforts to build visible, agile and sustainable supply chains that have resilience against unexpected disruptions. Geopolitical and trade tensions in recent years, and the shift towards digital, service-led and low-carbon economies, have driven the rethinking and restructuring of traditional, efficiency-oriented, global production networks, even before the disruptions of the COVID-19 pandemic. This paper offers insights into how US and European governments can harness an array of public policy tools to protect strategic supply chains without sliding into protectionism and while managing resultant trade-offs. The most sustainable opportunities will require a mix of approaches, ranging from reshoring production to establishing stockpiles of critical inputs, while collaborating at bilateral, regional and global level to reinforce the international trade system.