The round-up of the stories that a budding Student Lawyer should be aware of this week. Sign up here to get these updates in your inbox every week.
Article by Fozia Iftikar (Final Year Law Student at the University of Leeds)
The automobile industry is witnessing a modern-day crisis in car production levels, all credits due to the lessened availability of microchips (also known as little electronic circuits on flat pieces of silicon, which help to activate or deactivate electric currents).
A Bump In The Road For Vehicle Producers
The pandemic has certainly stirred things up for businesses and industries, small or large, all over the globe. Certainly, the automobile industry has faced a rocky ride. This emanates from the widespread closure of plants last year due to the ongoing pandemic, which has now instigated competition against the thriving electronics industry for chip inventory. This has compelled many vehicle companies to halt their productions of cars, including big-name brands such as Volkswagen AG and Toyota Motor Corp. Ford Motor Co has declared an astounding 1.1 million fewer cards to be produced. An additional issue comprises consumers who will be afflicted by the higher price tags on cars, not helped by the fact that supplies of models were limited prior to the deficit in chips due to the pandemic causing production restraints.
Unfortunately, the automobile industry will continue to be blighted by the issue for a while. Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company, the world’s largest producer of microchips, has formally declared that issues with stocks may linger around until 2022.
So, What (Legal) Action Is Being Taken?
One significant figure that has shown his desire to alleviate the issue is President of the United States, Joe Biden. After communicating with executives from the likes of Ford, Biden turned to the aid of the law by stating that he would be pursuing $37 billion in funding for legislation to boost chip manufacturing in America. It remains to be seen as to whether the President and Congress will attain such a considerable amount of money for this purpose.
American corporations are largely responsible for the production of microchips, which constitutes the reason for their heavy involvement in the matter. However, the UK should be paying careful attention. Biden stated: “We’re investing aggressively in areas like semiconductors and batteries – that’s what they’re (China) doing, so must we”. With the UK’s new-found independence away from the European Union, fostering individual developments in a wide range of markets is now more fundamental than ever – as reliance on other countries just won’t suffice in allowing industries to thrive.
Article by Livia Devereaux-Finnamore (PGDL Student at BPP University)
Since 1933, it has been a ‘Hallmark holiday’ to judge a US President by the standard of their first 100 days in office – to scrutinise their fulfilment of political promises and performance of assured policies. Friday 30th April marks President Joe Biden’s 100th day in office and whilst there are many promises that have not yet been fulfilled, below are some accomplishments from Biden’s initial 100 days.
When Biden took office, the coronavirus pandemic was at its peak in the US; there were over 3,000 Coronavirus deaths per day and only 15 million people had been vaccinated. Biden’s initial promise was to vaccinate 100 million US citizens during his first 100 days, however mass vaccination funding and access meant that this goal was achieved by the 58th day – prompting him to double the target to 200 million. Now, at the time of writing, over 230 million US citizens have received the coronavirus vaccine (around 43% of the US population) – this rate is second only in the word to China. Despite having one of the highest death rates in the world, Biden’s vaccination campaign has proven hugely successful and the US now has an inoculation rate more than four times the global average (you can access the current vaccination rates and ambitions here and here).
It is no secret that by denying its very existence, Donald Trump halted America’s climate change progress. Therefore, on day one as President, Biden fulfilled his promise to re-join the 2015 Paris Agreement with the pledge to decarbonise the economy by 2050. Since then, Biden has laid out a $2.3 trillion infrastructure plan to invest in clean energy and electric vehicles and recently unveiled a goal to half emissions from their level in 2005 – far exceeding Barack Obama’s former target. (You can read more on Biden’s Climate Change initiatives here and here).
In December, President Biden told reporters that his cabinet will be ‘more representative of the American people that any other cabinet in history’, and whilst there are many groups that are still underrepresented, Biden’s nominees created one of the most diverse cabinets for race and gender in presidential history. Biden has appointed twice the number of women than his predecessors as well as 55% of non-white members (compared to 18% by Donald Trump). Among many historical nominations, Pete Buttigieg was appointed as the first openly gay Cabinet Secretary, Lloyd Austin as the first black Defence Secretary and Janet Yellen as the first woman to lead the Treasury Department. Whilst many argue that Biden’s nominations don’t go far enough (you can read more on Cabinet vs US statistics here), it is clear that his determination to incite diversity is a refreshing change from his predecessor, Donald Trump.