(CN) — Former Vice President and presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden previewed a plan Tuesday to manufacture a range of products critical to national security in the United States after the pandemic revealed America’s crippling reliance on other countries — particularly China — for goods.
Biden said modern manufacturing in the United States will provide jobs for the American workforce while ensuring a stockpile of critical goods like medical supplies that ran dangerously low during the early stages of the coronavirus outbreak.
“The goal here is not pure self-sufficiency, but broad-based resilience,” Biden’s campaign said in a release issued Tuesday.
While Biden’s camp cited the coronavirus and the medical supply shortage, they said their plan to restore manufacturing to America’s shores would also include an array of products that could help the nation respond to a rapidly dynamic global community.
“The critical supplies America needs today may be different from the critical supplies needed in the future as technologies and markets evolve,” the campaign said.
Biden plans to purloin a central plank from then-candidate Donald Trump’s 2016 platform in which he vowed to redo trade deals he claimed hollowed out America’s manufacturing and its good-paying jobs. Trump has said the coronavirus should prompt American manufacturers to make gowns, face masks, ventilators and testing materials at home.
Trump has also hit Biden for supporting trade deals he said were responsible for the flight of American manufacturing.
But Biden said Trump has given lip service to an “America First” agenda and has failed to produce.
“Trump tweets about “America First” but his policies put outsourcing corporations first,” the Biden camp said in a separate statement. “For American workers, Trump’s policies have led to more offshoring, a U.S. manufacturing recession, and vulnerable U.S. supply chains.”
The trend has become particularly salient in relation to the pharmaceutical industry, the campaign said. Imports of pharmaceuticals have risen by 40% during Trump’s 3 ½ years in office.
The issue is likely to be a critical factor in swing states throughout the American Midwest. States like Ohio, Michigan, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania — reliably blue for decades — went for Trump in 2016, likely because voters thought he was attuned to their issues.
As American companies moved manufacturing plants oversees, where environmental and labor laws are laxer, plants closed throughout the Midwest. Many social critics point out the exodus of manufacturing hurt rural communities that were often built around manufacturing plants in the Midwest and cast the ensuing flight to urban areas and opioid addiction problems as symptoms of this deeper problem.