US President Biden has authorized a 100-day review of critical supply chain shortages across four sectors including semiconductors, via an executive order.

In addition to pharmaceutical product APIs and large capacity batteries, Biden has called for a review into rare earth minerals, semiconductors, and advanced packaging.

Since last year, the world has been gripped by an acute semiconductor shortage. Among those hardest hit has been the automotive industry, which has been forced to idle factories and reduce car production due to supply problems.

"The particular problem won’t be solved immediately"

IBM's semiconductor plant, East Fishkill
– Thinkstock

The review plans to help tackle some of the more pressing immediate supply issues, but also the longer security implications of vulnerable supply chains. Around 70 percent of the world's chip production comes from Taiwan.

“We need to make sure that supply chains are secure and reliable,” Biden said at the White House. “I’m directing senior officials in my administration to work with industrial leaders to identify solutions to this semiconductor shortfall.”

The President said that he would "push" to help pass legislation for $37 billion in funds to help the semiconductor shortfall. "But we all recognize that the particular problem won’t be solved immediately."

A single semiconductor fab can cost tens of billions to set up, and up to $40bn over a decade to run.

"In the meantime, we’re reaching out to our allies, semiconductor companies, and others in the supply chain to ramp up production to help us resolve the bottlenecks we face now," Biden said. "We need to stop playing catch up after the supply-chain crisis hit. We need to prevent the supply chain crisis from hitting in the first place."

The President is also reportedly mulling further action to help boost US manufacturing of critical sectors, including using the Defense Production Act - currently used for vaccine production.

Funding domestic semiconductor manufacturing is believed to be a bipartisan issue, but could require enormous sums to overcome decades of US chip manufacturing decline.