The head of the newly formed U.S. International Development Finance Corp. (DFC) said this week that the agency could provide tens of billions of dollars in financing to return manufacturing to the United States, according to a report by Reuters.
One of the projects it may finance is a $12 billion semiconductor plant from Taiwan, DFC CEO Adam Boehler told the news agency.
Working with the Department of Defense, the DFC recently launched a request for proposals from companies seeking financing under the Defense Production Act, which prioritizes government orders amid a war or national crisis. The defense department announced on June 22 that it will dedicate $100 million authorized by the CARES Act to boost medtech and pharmaceutical manufacturing in the U.S. The Trump administration has been pushing to return U.S. manufacturing to this country from China.
Boehler told Reuters that the new finance agency has received a lot of attention from companies, and that some could receive signed letters of understanding from the agency within the next month.
“The areas that have come on hot right away are on the PPE side and within the pharmaceutical value chains,” Boehler said, adding that some pharmaceutical companies are interested in returning generic drug production to the United States. Most generic drugs are imported, according to Reuters.
The DFC has invoked the Korean-War-era law to require certain manufacturers to produce critically needed ventilators and personal protective equipment during the COVID-19 pandemic. For example, President Donald Trump ordered General Motors in March to start producing ventilators for COVID-19 patients. In April, the defense department awarded $133 million in N95 respirator contracts to 3M (NYSE:MMM), Owens & Minor (NYSE:OMI) and Honeywell (NYSE:HON) under the act.
In the $100 million DOD initiative, eligible projects should help return production to the U.S. or strengthen related domestic supply chains of personal protective equipment, medical testing supplies, vaccines, pharmaceuticals, ventilation equipment or “relevant ancillary materials and technologies,” according to the defense department.