By U.S. Representative Kay Granger
July 23, 2020 2:30PM CST
As many of us were growing up, America became the wealthiest, most prosperous, and dominant country the world has ever seen. We led in manufacturing, scientific development, education, and so much more. However, as the world has become more connected, we have seen the rapid rise of China.
While staggering growth has brought a higher quality of life to the Chinese people, it has also bolstered the global influence of the Chinese Community Party. China’s rapid industrialization, along with a political system that shuts down any dissent, has catapulted them into the status of a global superpower.
We often hear about how significant the threat from China is. From space technology to deceptive trading practices, the Chinese are challenging America’s role in the world in almost every area imaginable. These concerns are well founded, and I share them.
But there are many steps that Congress and the U.S. government are taking to counter destructive actions by the Chinese and maintain American global superiority for the decades to come.
One of my greatest concerns is our reliance on China for pharmaceutical and medical equipment.
The COVID-19 pandemic has revealed a lot about the Chinese government. It has exposed the extreme measures it takes to silence its own people, its attempts to deceive the rest of the world, and the way it uses its tremendous economic influence to bully and coerce other countries and international organizations. However, it also has shown us that we need to be much more self-sufficient and work to secure our medical supply chain.
This is especially true when it comes to pharmaceuticals. A recent study by the U.S.-China Economic Security Commission, a congressionally chartered commission that monitors U.S.-China relations, found that China is surpassing the U.S. in pharmaceutical products. Another recent report found that 95 percent of U.S. imports of ibuprofen were from China. This reliance also extends to medical supplies. Prior to the recent pandemic, China supplied over half of the world’s personal protective equipment.
The current pandemic has shown us the deadly consequences of relying on China and other countries for these vital medical resources. This is true not only because of the shortages, but also because there are many reports of drugs from China being unsafe for American consumers. If we do not take drastic steps to quickly improve our domestic production capacity, American lives will be at great risk – both now and in the future.
Many in Congress have listened to these concerns, and we are taking quick action to address them.
First, the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act that Congress passed in March takes many steps to secure the medical supply chain. It expands drug shortage reporting requirements and requires certain drug manufacturers to draw up risk management plans, so we know where the greatest need is. Additionally, the bill directs leading academics to conduct a study of pharmaceutical supply chain security so that Congress can turn their recommendations into legislative solutions.
The U.S. government as a whole is using every tool at its disposal to secure the domestic medical supply chain. In May, President Trump signed an executive order that focused on increasing U.S. supply capacity. He has also directed many different agencies to use economic and trade authorities to incentivize companies to move their production to the U.S. or other allied countries.
In the years to come, China will almost certainly grow at an exponential pace. We cannot allow American strength to suffer as a result, nor can we allow American lives to be put at risk because of a lack of medical equipment. This administration and Congress are laser focused on these issues, and I am committed to protecting America and its way of life.