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Senator Hassan Highlights Importance of Supply Chain Resiliency, Supporting R&D at Finance Committee Hearing

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Maggie Hassan (D-NH) highlighted her work yesterday to improve supply chain resiliency and support investments in American research and development at a Senate Finance Committee Hearing on the challenges and opportunities of strategic trade engagement in the Indo-Pacific region.


To watch Senator Hassan’s questioning click here.


Senator Hassan questioned Michael Wessell, who is staff adviser to the Labor Advisory Committee for Trade Negotiations and Trade Policy, as well as a member of the U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission, about how the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework increases our supply chain resiliency.


Senator Hassan asked, “I’m working on legislation to help us bring American manufacturing back in critical sectors such as semiconductors, biotechnology, and military technology. In addition to these efforts, Mr. Wessell, how can the U.S. ensure that the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework increases our supply chain resiliency?”


Mr. Wessell responded, “Senator, as you just pointed out – and thank you for all your work on this issue – that in critical supply chain areas, we ensure first that we can make those products here in the U.S. where we can. Second, where we can’t, we do so with allied countries that share our views and refuse to weaponize supply chains as we’ve seen with China. I think that can be a component of our IPEF agreement. But investing in our own economy, making sure that we can meet our critical needs, and working with our allies to make sure that we share the burden of providing those products globally to democratic nations is key.”


Additionally, Senator Hassan asked Mr. Wessell how the Indo-Pacific framework could help the U.S. outcompete China in R&D.


“I am working on a bipartisan basis to promote research and development investment in the United States, including through bipartisan tax legislation with Senator Young,” said Senator Hassan. “According to a recent report by the U.S.-China Commission, between the years…2001 to 2017 U.S. companies increased their R&D investments in China at a faster rate than their R&D investments in domestic operations in the United States. So how can the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework balance promoting domestic R&D and strengthening ties with our allies in the Indo-Pacific region?”


Mr. Wessell responded, “Thank you for the question and again that goes back to your first point, which is first that we must make sure that we have the environment here in the U.S. to support R&D. It’s not only work like you’re doing on the tax code, but also the provisions that are in America Competes and USICA that will ensure that we have the R&D base here that we need to make sure that it is not under attack by countries like China that engage in massive espionage… We need to make sure that there is a balanced R&D strategy, but first and foremost do what we can to have the core, the basic, and the forward looking R&D being done here.”


Senator Hassan was one of the 22 original legislators who helped negotiate the bipartisan infrastructure package into law last year, securing investments for the country’s highways and ports that will help ease supply chain bottlenecks and strengthen the transportation of goods. Senator Hassan is currently working with her colleagues on comprehensive, bipartisan legislation to make major investments in American manufacturing, bring jobs back to America, and outcompete China. As part of the final package, Senator Hassan is working to include legislation to provide loans and grants to American companies that produce critical goods, such as semiconductors, military technology, medical devices, and solar panels.