White House Previews Executive Order to Reduce Medical Supply Chain Dependence on China

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White House trade adviser Peter Navarro said Wednesday that the White House is considering an executive order to reduce America’s dependence on foreign countries for supplying medical resources.

“China has managed to dominate all aspects of the supply chain using the same unfair trade practices that it has used to dominate other sectors — cheap sweatshop labor, lax environmental regulations and massive government subsidies,” Director of the Office of Trade and Manufacturing Policy Peter Navarro said in an interview with the New York Times.

Navarro indicated that the widespread coronavirus infection demonstrated that the United States depended too much on countries like China.

“This is not just about public health and safety. It’s about our very national defense,” Navarro told reporters on Wednesday.

Navarro said that the order would attempt a “synergistic combo” of streamlining regulations and improving manufacturing technology under the “Buy American” principle voiced by the administration.

Navarro suggested that the executive order could include a proposal to use American funding to purchase “essential” American medical supplies.

“The only way to do that is to make sure that every dollar of government procurement for our essential medicines and medical countermeasures is a dollar spent on ‘Buy American,’” he said.

Sen. Marco Rubio is among Republican senators that have warned about the dangers of America’s medical supply chain becoming too dependent on China, as the coronavirus expands in the United States.

Navarro did not have a specific date set, but he said it would move forward soon.

“We’re trying to move quickly in Trump time, which in this case should be in a matter of weeks,” he said.

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