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Biden to host CEOs to discuss holiday shopping supply chain issues, inflation

US President Joe Biden announces the release of 50 million barrels of oil from the United States Strategic Petroleum Reserve as part of a coordinated effort with other major economies to help mitigate soaring gas prices making remarks on the economy and “falling prices” during a speech in the South Court Auditorium of the Eisenhower Executive Office Building at the White House in Washington, United States, November 23, 2021.

Evelyne Hockstein | Reuters

WASHINGTON – President Joe Biden will welcome CEOs of several major retailers to the White House on Monday to discuss the administration’s efforts to tackle bottlenecks in the global supply chain and reassure Americans that goods will be on the shelves for the holidays.

Etsy CEO Josh Silverman and Samsung CEO KS Choi, according to a White House listing, will be joining Biden in person from the tech industry.

The supermarket industry will be represented by Food Lion President Meg Ham, Todos Supermarket CEO Carlos Castro and Kroger CEO Rodney McMullen.

Other retailers in attendance will include Ynon Kreiz, CEO of Mattel, Corrie Barry, CEO of Best Buy and David Rawlinson, CEO of Qurate Retail Group, which owns brands like QVC, Ballard Designs and Zulily.

Walmart CEO Doug McMillon and CVS Health CEO Karen Lynch will attend the meeting virtually, the White House has announced.

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After the roundtable, Biden is expected to comment on what his administration is doing to “strengthen the country’s supply chains, reduce daily costs for families and ensure shelves are well stocked this holiday season,” said the White House Monday.

The events are part of a multi-pronged White House effort to address the interwoven challenges of global supply chain bottlenecks and inflation. Both of these issues are rooted in an increase in demand for post-pandemic goods, which has collided with a global shipping system still hampered by Covid slowdowns.

And while Biden could do little to directly influence these two challenges at the macro level, the White House has been working overtime to make changes where it can.

Earlier this month, the administration launched a series of measures it is taking to address cargo backlogs at major ports, including $ 4 billion in construction at coastal ports and inland waterways. This work, led by the US Army Corps of Engineers, is scheduled to begin within 60 days.

The administration has also worked closely with the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach to help them extend their operating hours and reduce the long line of ships waiting to unload cargo at the ports.

The increased supply of merchandise on US shelves should ease some of the pressure on prices. The same is true of the reduction in the price of gasoline, which has skyrocketed this year and has contributed to the high cost of retail products.

Two days before Thanksgiving, Biden announced that the United States would release 50 million barrels of oil from the Strategic Oil Reserve, as part of a global effort by major oil-consuming countries to reduce the high price of gasoline. .

But for many consumers, the pace of government solutions does not appear to meet the urgency of price inflation.

Monday’s White House event follows a Thanksgiving weekend in which Americans paid significantly more for turkey, potatoes and pies than they have paid in recent years. The U.S. Consumer Price Index rose 6.2% last month from October 2020, with food prices rising 5.2% on the year.

Now, the 2021 holiday shopping season promises to feature both the inflation that has impacted Thanksgiving food costs, as well as additional supply chain concerns over product unavailability.

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