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PwC Executive Says US Firms To Curb Reliance On China Suppliers

Talk of a major reshuffling in international trade continues to build as more companies eye global supply chains, opening up opportunities for American manufacturing.

Tim Ryan, chair of accounting giant PwC (PricewaterhouseCoopers), told CNBC that U.S.-based companies are sticking with their plans for shifting manufacturing commitments away from China. He said that would remain true regardless of who wins the presidential election.

Increased tensions over trade with China are part of the equation, but Ryan explained that the chief cause of the move is the coronavirus pandemic. The executive said countries that could benefit from these moves include those in Southeast Asia, along with Mexico and the U.S.

“The idea that supply chains could be disrupted because goods may stop flowing or borders may close – we didn’t really need to worry about that too much in the past,” Dr. Paul Sheard, senior fellow at Harvard’s Kennedy School, told PYMNTS.

Tony Uphoff, president and CEO of product-sourcing platform Thomas, told PYMNTS that “reshoring accelerated by the pandemic is the single biggest opportunity U.S. manufacturers have seen in 70 years.”

A recent Thomas report said of manufacturers: “Two in three (69 percent) of manufacturing companies are looking into bringing production to North America (compared to 54 percent in February).”

“COVID really put a spotlight … on supply chain risk, and one of the things that we’re seeing is supply chain de-risking has moved all the way up to the boardroom level, as we see now concentrations in our supply chains that [were] maybe not evidenced before,” Ryan told CNBC.

Global supply chain problems mushroomed during the spring crisis. The pandemic has become notorious for shortages of the basic supplies that healthcare providers need to work safely.

A PwC survey of executives released last month said that support for policies to boost American manufacturing is growing. CNBC reported that 46 percent of respondents said they “strongly agree” that the government should beef up U.S. production of essential products, which would also aid the nation’s economy.

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