On Monday, White House Trade Advisor and director of the Office of Trade and Manufacturing Policy Peter Navarro appeared on CNBC’s Squawk Box, where he stated that he was bringing an executive order to President Trump to end U.S. dependency on supply chains from overseas for medical equipment and supplies. He noted, “If we get this executive order through, it basically attacks the problem in three ways” consistent with Trump’s campaign promises.
Navarro was prompted by Squawk Box host Andrew Sorkin, who noted a New York Times article claiming that President Trump was trying to persuade a German firm to move its research firm to the U.S. raising fear in Berlin that Trump was trying to assure that any inoculations against the coronavirus would take place in the U.S. first.
What I can speak to is this broader interesting issue of how dependent the United States of America is on the global supply chain, not just for its medicines, but for its medical supplies and medical equipment. And as we speak, I’m bringing an executive order to the president personally asking him to move quickly on this issue. And yes, it’s an executive order, which we hope to get to the finish line by the end of the week is to bring all of that home so we don’t have to worry about foreign dependency.
70% of our advanced pharmaceutical ingredients comes from abroad. We’ve got face mask issues; goggle issues, things like that. If we get this executive order through, it basically attacks the problem in three ways consistent with what President Trump not only has been governing on but campaigned on. It’s buy American; it’s innovate; it’s deregulate. And the “buy American” piece is important because the VA, HHS and the Department of Defense buy a ton of medicines, medical supplies and medical equipment. We need to have them buy that from American producers on American soil.
What that’ll do is attract investment. We have a problem with the FDA and the EPA in terms of siting and operating facilities here in America so we’re going to deal with that.
And again, what I’ve been doing, Andrew, Joe, Becky: I’m working to get a bunch of money that Congress appropriated in emergency supplemental to flip the switch at an advance manufacturing facility in Virginia within 30 to 45 days so we can make stuff here and do it more cost–efficiently than everybody else around the world. So these are the kinds of things that this White House is moving on at full speed and we’re going to get through this and everybody’s on this.
Last September, Rosemary Gibson, the author of “China Rx,” told NBC News, “If China shut the door on exports of medicines and their key ingredients and raw material, U.S. hospitals and military hospitals and clinics would cease to function within months, if not days,” adding that China could potentially “weaponize our medicines. They can sell us medicines without any medicine in them. They can sell medicines that have lethal contaminants in it … We can’t make penicillin anymore. The last penicillin plant in the United States closed in 2004.”
Retired Brig. Gen. John Adams, a former deputy U.S. military representative to NATO, told NBC News: “Basically we’ve outsourced our entire industry to China. That is a strategic vulnerability. I think they know exactly what they’re doing and they’re incredibly good strategists. They’re doing this, they select their industries for the future and they’ve got a plan.”
Video of Navarro below: