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Politics: White House calls shopping season a success amid supply chain issues

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The White House called the holiday shopping season a success on Wednesday, touting its work to address supply chain issues and prevent further disruptions that could be brought on by the highly contagious omicron variant.

White House calls shopping season a success amid supply chain issues © Associated Press/Nam Y. Huh White House calls shopping season a success amid supply chain issues

The White House pointed to data from the Port of Los Angeles and the Port of Long Beach that they processed 14 percent more containers compared to those processed in 2018 over the same time period, which set a record high, in a memo on Wednesday.

It also said the number of long-dwelling import containers remain about 40 percent below Nov. 1 levels and it touted an announcement from the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach that there will impose a fee on long-dwelling empty containers set to take effect on Jan. 30.

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The memo said holiday sales rose 8.5 percent compared to 2020 and 10.7 percent compared to pre-pandemic 2019, citing data from Mastercard. Additionally, U.S. retailers, excluding auto makers, made $465 billion in inventories as of Nov. 30.

The administration is monitoring omicron-related disruptions to the supply chain, according to the memo.

"Despite the highly contagious delta variant, the Supply Chain Disruption's Task Force's actions helped increase throughput and stock goods on shelves," the memo read.

"We are closely tracking potential supply chain impacts of the highly transmissible omicron variant. The State Department has increased the frequency of its reporting on the situation at key manufacturing plants and ports worldwide. No significant threats to U.S. supply chains have been reported to date, but we will continue to monitor the pandemic closely," it added.

John D. Porcari, port envoy to the Biden-Harris Administration Supply Chain Disruptions Task Force, is set to join White House press secretary Jen Psaki at the White House briefing on Wednesday.

"While the impact of the emergent omicron variant will unfold over the next days and weeks, we will continue to remain focused on supporting the public health response, closely monitoring impacts on domestic and global supply chains, and take action in partnership with the public and private sector and our international allies and partners to improve supply chains," the memo read.

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