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China's Export Regulations Delay US Medical Supplies

After reports of quality-control issues tainted positive press coverage of China's donation campaign in March and April, the central government in Beijing set new restrictions on exports of medical-related supples. If the Chinese government expected praise for the move, they were sorely mistaken.

Since the rules have been enforced, officials with the US Department of State and executives of several top US businesses have repeatedly complained that badly-needed supplies being delayed needlessly by the People's Republic of China, the Wall Street Journal reports.

Companies as diverse as 3M, Emory Healthcare, General Electric, Owens & Minor Inc. and PerkinElmer, Inc, already certified by the American FDA to distribute products, have been forced to let their products sit in warehouses rather than transport them to the United States.

The medical equipment producer PerkinElmer, Inc, for example, has blamed the export restrictions for a delay in the transport of nearly 1.4 million COVID-19 test kits from its factory in the PRC to the Untied States. In one leaked memo, a State Department official complained that Chinese policies have, "disrupted established supply chains for medical products just as these products were most needed."

The leak comes as US concerns over the reliability of its supply chains has risen in the midst of the COVID-19. The Intelligence Ledger, in March, noted that the Chinese government holds an immense amount of sway over the success of the US response to the pandemic. Over the years, the United States has grown increasingly dependent on Chinese manufacturers, and thus the Chinese government, for a wide variety of goods. The COVID-19 pandemic, however, has shown that the government in Beijing is unwilling to uphold agreements when its own interests are threatened or improve a broken system when other nations are in need.

The views expressed are those of the author and do not reflect the official policy or position of the United States Army, Department of Defense, or the United States Government.


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