Trump adviser says ‘globalization of production’ caused medical equipment shortages

Greg Nash

White House trade adviser Peter Navarro said in a new interview that the medical equipment shortages some areas of the U.S. are facing amid the coronavirus pandemic are a direct result of the “globalization of production.”

In an interview with “60 Minutes,” Navarro, a staunch critic of China, asserted that the “biggest lesson” of U.S. medical supply shortages is that crucial equipment shouldn’t be manufactured overseas. 

“Make this stuff here,” he said. “We wouldn’t be having this problem if we had the domestic production of essential medicines, medical supplies like masks and medical equipment like ventilators.”

“If we made it here, we wouldn’t be faced with this. That was the original sin,” he added. 

Asked how the U.S. could be in a position in which hospitals in New York are running out of masks, gowns and gloves for nurses, Navarro pointed to globalization and the reliance on production in China. 

“It’s the globalization of production through multinational corporations, who salute no flag, who love cheap sweatshop labor, and who love the massive subsidies that the Chinese government throws at production to bring it from here to there,” he said. 

The novel coronavirus first appeared in China in December and has since infected millions of people worldwide. The U.S. had reported more than 557,000 confirmed cases of COVID-19, the illness caused by the virus, and about 22,100 deaths caused by it as of Monday morning, according to a Johns Hopkins University database

The rapid spread of the virus in some areas has overwhelmed health care systems in certain states, leading to shortages of crucial equipment like masks and ventilators, which provide oxygen to severely ill patients. The Department of Health and Human Services told the House Oversight and Reform Committee earlier this month that the federal stockpile of personal protective equipment has been depleted.

The scarcity of supplies has helped lead states and local governments to compete on the open market for supplies. 

President Trump’s and China’s attacks against each other amid the virus stymied chances that the U.S. and Chinese governments would cooperate to address the pandemic, according to a New York Times report.

Trump last week made greater use of the Defense Production Act, using the law to compel General Motors to deliver 30,000 ventilators by August. 

Tags Coronavirus Donald Trump global trade Peter Navarro

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