For years, U.S. dependence on China has harbored a rising threat to our national security. Now, during a global pandemic, this threat has come clearly into view. After decades of well-known wrongdoings, human rights violations, and manipulation of American intellectual property, it is time to get serious about cutting China out of our nation’s supply chains.
Throughout this public health crisis, we have witnessed a shortage of critical resources. Personal protective equipment like N95 masks and gowns for healthcare workers have been held up, our national stockpile of ventilators and other life-saving equipment is limited, and a break in our pharmaceutical supply chain has left patients without the medicine they need to recover.
At the same time, China has continually covered up data and research about the COVID-19 outbreak and hindered the world’s ability to respond in a timely fashion to the virus.
American scientists, researchers, and doctors are working diligently to ensure our communities have the materials they need to combat and prevent the spread of the coronavirus, but with China supplying more than 90% of the American-developed drugs to our U.S. healthcare providers and medical suppliers, we find ourselves at a dangerous disadvantage.
While our farmers, ranchers, manufacturers, and so many other industries in Central Washington and across the country rely on access to Chinese markets, it has become increasingly clear that we must take stronger steps to make sure the United States is not dependent on a foreign country. We cannot afford to continue to rely on China for production or manufacturing of these materials to help us protect public health, nor for the critical minerals mined for our nation’s defense.
Since his election, President Trump has worked to level the playing field with China by bolstering our trade agreements and ensuring fair access for American goods.
The conclusion of a Phase One deal with China earlier this year was a welcome step toward progress we haven’t seen from our country’s leadership in decades, and we must continue to negotiate in order to keep U.S. priorities in mind.
The Trump Administration is also working to end our reliance on China for critical and rare earth minerals that we use to create products like cell phones, solar panels, and defense grid infrastructure.
My friend and colleague of the Congressional Western Caucus, Rep. Scott Tipton (R-CO), has introduced legislation to ensure the United States is able to support our own critical mineral supply chain. The Rare Earth Cooperative 21st Century Manufacturing Act will better allow American mining companies and other manufacturers to process the minerals that are produced in the U.S. – decreasing our reliance on China and paving the way for a more secure nation.
We hail from the greatest country in the world, and there is no reason we should be reliant on a communist country like China to maintain our status as defenders of liberty. By bolstering American mining and manufacturing, we can create jobs, strengthen our economy, and enhance our national supply chain into the future.