Tags: Coronavirus | Health Topics | manufacturing | medical | pharmaceuticals.

A Loud Wake Up Call for US to Rebuild Industrial Might

rebuild american industrial medical might

(Andrei Gabriel Stanescu/Dreamstime)

By Wednesday, 29 April 2020 02:01 PM Current | Bio | Archive

The Covid-19 pandemic that swept our nation has highlighted critical gaps in our ability to beat back such threats. It’s literally a wake-up call for America.

There is total international medical community consensus that this coronavirus originated in Wuhan, China. It likely began as a virus that jumped from animals to humans in one of that city’s notorious "wet markets," where all sorts of live animals — including live bats known to carry coronaviruses — are slaughtered and offered for sale for human consumption.

According to U.S. intelligence reports, it's also ever more likely that a Chinese government-sponsored laboratory in that city — the Wuhan Institute of Virology — was experimenting with this virus inside its facility, and that because of careless handling of the virus by its scientists, the virus escaped from the laboratory and triggered the pandemic that has spread globally.

The Chinese communist government has predictably obfuscated on this disaster; locking down information from Wuhan and concealing the extent of the pandemic within China.

Instead of cooperating with the rest of the world to help scientists fully understand the origin and spread of COVID-19, Chinese authorities have lowered a cloak of secrecy and unleased a propaganda campaign, even going so far as to make the preposterous claim that the virus was somehow imported into China by the U.S. military.

All of this would be more than bad enough if not for the fact that COVID-19 has painfully demonstrated just how dependent the U.S. has become on China and other counties for all manner of medical supplies and critical medicines.

America imports vast amounts of medical masks, gowns, and other protective equipment.

Much of our pharmaceutical industry, which was once located in the U.S. and Puerto Rico, has shifted to Asia over the past few decades.

America today is in the incredibly dangerous position of fighting a pandemic, caused largely by Chinese government carelessness and malfeasance, with medical supplies from China.

That must change — and do so quickly.

It's time for America to see China for the adversary it is, not the partner we might wish it to be.

That will mean making some very fundamental changes in the way the United States handles its industrial and trade policies in the future. We must bring back critical manufacturing capability to our own country, especially for important medical supplies and pharmaceuticals.

By way of example, for years America had a robust pharmaceutical industry in Puerto Rico. That industry was encouraged with certain tax incentives that were shortsightedly allowed to lapse, driving production to overseas nations where it was welcomed with significant host- government support. Congress and the Administration should reinstate the tax incentives to bring back pharmaceutical production.

There are a number of other steps Washington should consider to help rebuild our manufacturing base. For years we have allowed China and other countries to game international bodies like the World Trade Organization (WTO) and the World Health Organization (WHO), which gave special treatment to these countries as "developing nations."

But today its laughable to consider China a "developing nation" which can take advantage of WTO trade polices to dump manufactured goods in America and WHO health policies which allow it to shirk its international responsibilities.

How can it be right for China to run half trillion dollar a year trade surpluses with the U.S. at the same time that it contributes less than one-tenth what the U.S. has heretofore contributed to the WHO?

China gives the WHO less than $50 million a year while the U.S. gives it over $500 million per year for international healthcare initiatives, because the WHO considers China a "developing nation." 

What nonsense.

President Trump was right to suspend further U.S. financial support for the WHO until this glaring inequity is corrected. At the very least China must make up the hundreds of millions of dollars it should have contributed to the WHO to match what the U.S. has already so generously contributed.

Over the next few years, in the aftermath of this international health and economic disaster, America must rebuild our industrial might. We can’t lead the world just with strength of our ideals or our arms — as great as they may be.

We must demand that countries like China treat the rest of the world fairly and shoulder their share of the responsibility to all humankind.

It’s not too late for America to wake up.

But time is running out.

Former Senator Alfonse D’Amato served a distinguished 18-year career in the U.S. Senate, where he chaired the Senate Banking Committee and was a member of the Senate Appropriations and Finance Committees. While in the Senate, Mr. D’Amato also Chaired of the U.S. Commission on Cooperation and Security in Europe (CSCE), and served on the Senate Intelligence Committee. The former Senator is considered an expert in the legislative and political process, who maintains close relationships with Members of Congress on both sides of the aisle. He is regularly called upon for his advice and counsel, and is recognized for his incisive analysis of national and international political affairs. The former Senator will share insights gained from his years in Washington “with a clear-eyed view of the political forces that shape the world we live in today.” Read Alfonse D'Amato's Reports — More Here.

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We must bring back critical manufacturing capability to our own country, especially for important medical supplies and pharmaceuticals.
manufacturing, medical, pharmaceuticals.
Wednesday, 29 April 2020 02:01 PM
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