President Donald Trump is considering approving a plan proposed by White House trade adviser Peter Navarro that would reduce the country’s dependency on imports and increase domestic production of medical supplies and pharmaceuticals.
The Washington Post reports Navarro’s proposal has caused a debate between top White House officials.
While Trump grapples with how to handle China’s culpability in the pandemic, Navarro’s proposal has added another factor into the mix.
Trump is yet to sign the executive order, which would require the federal government to only purchase essential medical equipment and pharmaceuticals manufactured in the U.S.
Officials told the newspaper he has hesitated because several of his confidants, including Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and son-in-law and senior adviser Jared Kushner, have voiced concerns about implementing the strategy.
Officials said they warned Trump that moving too quickly could jeopardize critical protective gear for American medical workers and asked Trump to wait until investigations into China are completed.
“Nobody except Peter wants to slam China over and over again, because we’re going to need what China is making, whether it’s equipment or a vaccine down the road, you never know,” one White House official told The Washington Post.
Navarro has argued it would make the U.S. less dependent on foreign nations for critical medical supplies.
He told The Washington Post that his proposal was not aimed at China or any country in particular. Rather, it was meant to ensure the U.S. can produce medicines, supplies and other essential equipment.
“This is a defensive measure for the American people not aimed at any other country,” Navarro said. “Onshoring America’s public health industrial base is both a national imperative and the logical conclusion to draw from a pandemic that has exposed the weak underbelly of globalized supply chains and the risks of not domestically producing your essential medicines and medical countermeasures.”
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