Washington, D.C. – The COVID-19 Coronavirus pandemic has revealed China’s ability to wreak havoc on the global economy and cut off our access to essential supplies.
The Chinese Communist Party’s malicious actions should come as no surprise. Decades of failed engagement, Western investment and unfair trade tactics built China into an industrial behemoth, giving the CCP control over the world’s supply of pharmaceuticals, medical equipment and other basic goods.
The CCP has used cheap goods, manufactured with stolen technology, to buy the West’s silence about its appalling aggression in Hong Kong, Xinjiang, Tibet and elsewhere.
These problems are not new, but they have become more obvious, especially to the general public. It is now clear that our passive dependence on China for essential supplies poses a grave threat.
The United States must embrace policies that will secure global supply chains and revitalize industry at home. Congress should immediately focus on securing America’s pharmaceutical supply chain.
While the United States has invested heavily in drug discovery and development, China has prioritized pharmaceutical manufacturing, giving massive support to domestic producers to undercut foreign competitors.
Most Americans would be shocked to learn that most active pharmaceutical ingredients — or, “APIs,” the building blocks of drugs — are made in China; 95 percent of imports of ibuprofen, 70 percent of acetaminophen, and between 40 percent and 45 percent of penicillin come directly from China. Only 28 percent of facilities making API are located in the U.S.
This level of dependence is dangerous, but we cannot simply wish away this problem with a one-size-fits-all mandate. Instead, Congress should consider more targeted bills to support an industry that has long been in crisis.
We have two bills to do just that.
Read the rest of Senators Blackburn and Cotton’s op-ed here.