Biden Administration Undercuts Efforts to Rebuild U.S. Medical Supply Chains: Withdraws Proposal on WTO Government Procurement Agreement

WASHINGTON — The Coalition for a Prosperous America (CPA) today criticized the Biden administration for undercutting a campaign promise to ensure that U.S. taxpayer dollars would be used to spur investment in the U.S. rather than continue our dependence on foreign supply chains. According to Bloomberg, the Biden administration has withdrawn a World Trade Organization (WTO) proposal submitted by the Trump administration that sought to maximize domestic production and procurement of American-made essential medicines and other critical medical products. The original proposal had sought to strengthen the resilience of U.S. supply chains and also combat shortages in a medical crisis. During the COVID-19 pandemic, every WTO member country with manufacturing capacity blocked exports of essential medicines and supplies.

Last year, CPA released a report that found reshoring U.S. pharmaceutical production could create 800,000 U.S. jobs and add $200 billion to gross domestic product. An additional CPA report found that reshoring U.S. medical supply chain production could create 302,000 U.S. jobs and add $54 billion to gross domestic product.

“Withdrawing a WTO proposal that sought to strengthen U.S. medical supply chain production and boost future pandemic response is not how you Build Back Better,” said Michael Stumo, CEO of CPA. “Instead, this move further risks U.S. economic and national security by making America even more dependent on foreign nations like China for essential medicines, PPE, and other critical products in times of crisis. CPA and our members welcomed President Biden’s ‘Make it in America’ campaign pledge to reshore critical industries and U.S. manufacturing. However, we cannot support moves that do not prioritize American companies and workers over foreign producers.”

The Trump WTO proposal would have helped rebuild domestic supply chains by allowing the U.S. to modify its commitments under the Government Procurement Act (GPA) to exempt “any goods that are deemed necessary for responding to threats arising from chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear (CBRN) threats and public health emergencies, including emerging infectious diseases such as COVID-19.” The Biden administration’s decision to withdraw the proposal will continue preventing the US government from focusing taxpayer dollars on domestic sources of these critical goods and will further increase U.S. dependence on other countries for critical supply chains.

“Today’s move by the Biden administration undercuts our members who are investing in new production capacity to keep Americans safe and create good paying jobs in the production of critical medical supplies,” said Rosemary Gibson, author of China Rx and Chairwoman of the CPA Healthcare Committee. “The COVID-19 pandemic revealed serious vulnerabilities in U.S. supply chains and made clear that we must combat America’s dependence on foreign nations for essential generic drugs, antibiotics, vaccines, PPE, and other critical health care products. Instead of pursuing policies that address this serious vulnerability and reshore essential medicine production, Biden’s withdrawal of this WTO proposal is a step backwards.”

Last year, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) released a massive list of essential medicines and critical inputs in response to an Executive Order from former President Trump that sought to ensure essential medicines, medical countermeasures, and critical inputs are made in the United States.


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