White House trade adviser Peter Navarro says the Chinese coronavirus crisis is vindicating President Trump’s economic nationalist agenda, underscoring how “dangerously over-dependent” the nation is on global supply chains overseas.
In a press briefing on Thursday, Navarro said the coronavirus crisis is exposing decades of free trade policy that has readily enabled U.S. corporations to outsource and offshore their supply chains while gutting America’s industrial base. Navarro said:
One of the things that this crisis has taught us … is that we are dangerously over-dependent on a global supply chain for our medicines like penicillin, our medical supplies like masks, and our medical equipment like ventilators. We have right now, as we speak, over 50 countries that have already imposed some form of export restrictions in their country against the rest of the world.
“What we’re learning from that is that no matter [what] treaties you have, no matter how many alliances, no matter how many phone calls, when push comes to shove, you run the risk as a nation of not having what you need,” Navarro said.
Navarro also detailed the Trump administration’s upcoming “Buy American” executive order, which he said will be implemented only after the coronavirus crisis has concluded to ensure existing supply chains are not further disrupted:
And if there’s any vindication, it’s the president’s Buy American, secure borders, and a strong manufacturing base philosophy, strategy, and belief it is this crisis because it underscores everything that we see there. [Emphasis added]
So the Buy American order, which is going through process, would do a couple of things. It would — not during this crisis because we don’t want to disrupt anything, I want to be very clear about that — but going forward, after this is over, the VA, DOD, HHS, and this government buys American for essential medicines, our medical countermeasures, and the medical supplies and equipment we need. At the same time, it will deregulate so we can get the FDA and EPA to facilitate domestic manufacturing and innovate. [Emphasis added]
The key here … is having advanced manufacturing on U.S. soil that can leapfrog other countries so we don’t have to worry about competing against cheap sweatshop labor, lax environmental regulations, different tax regimes, and the massive subsidies of foreign governments who are actually directly attacking our industrial base. [Emphasis added]
Navarro said “never again” should the U.S. “have to depend on the rest of the world for essential medicines and countermeasures.”
The results of U.S. free trade with China have meant the U.S. currently depends on China to produce an estimated 97 percent of all antibiotics and 80 percent of the active pharmaceutical ingredients that are needed to manufacture drugs in the U.S.
Since the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) was enacted and China entered the World Trade Organization (WTO), nearly five million American manufacturing jobs have been eliminated from the American economy — 3.4 million of which are due to U.S. free trade with China. The mass elimination of working- and middle-class jobs and depressed U.S. wages due to NAFTA and China’s entering the WTO have coincided with a 600 percent increase in trade deficits.
John Binder is a reporter for Breitbart News. Follow him on Twitter at @JxhnBinder.