CommonWealth Magazine | #ChineseeHacker


US REP. STEPHEN LYNCH  issued a call on Tuesday for all recipients of federal aid under the American Rescue Plan Act to boycott Chinese personal protection equipment and buy American.

At a press conference at a mass vaccination site at the Hynes Convention Center, Lynch said many producers of personal protection equipment are assembling their products here in the United States but still relying on raw materials from China.

“That doesn’t eliminate the vulnerability that we have,” Lynch said. “We’re still reliant on China.”

Lynch said bills are circulating in Washington to address the problem, but in the meantime he urged anyone receiving the billions of dollars in federal aid coming under the stimulus legislation to use that purchasing power to help establish a system of fully domesticated PPE production.

“This is a gap in our national security that we can address ourselves rather than offshore the capabilities to countries that are hacking our federal government, hacking our domestic companies, and who are not acting in a friendly and supportive way,” he said.

PPE includes surgical masks, N95 respirators, sterile gloves, surgical gowns, face shields, and the like. The end products rely on various raw materials, including synthetic textiles and pharmaceutical agents.

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Editor, CommonWealth

About Bruce Mohl

Bruce Mohl is the editor of CommonWealth magazine. Bruce came to CommonWealth from the Boston Globe, where he spent nearly 30 years in a wide variety of positions covering business and politics. He covered the Massachusetts State House and served as the Globe’s State House bureau chief in the late 1980s. He also reported for the Globe’s Spotlight Team, winning a Loeb award in 1992 for coverage of conflicts of interest in the state’s pension system. He served as the Globe’s political editor in 1994 and went on to cover consumer issues for the newspaper. At CommonWealth, Bruce helped launch the magazine’s website and has written about a wide range of issues with a special focus on politics, tax policy, energy, and gambling. Bruce is a graduate of Ohio Wesleyan University and the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University. He lives in Dorchester.

About Bruce Mohl

Bruce Mohl is the editor of CommonWealth magazine. Bruce came to CommonWealth from the Boston Globe, where he spent nearly 30 years in a wide variety of positions covering business and politics. He covered the Massachusetts State House and served as the Globe’s State House bureau chief in the late 1980s. He also reported for the Globe’s Spotlight Team, winning a Loeb award in 1992 for coverage of conflicts of interest in the state’s pension system. He served as the Globe’s political editor in 1994 and went on to cover consumer issues for the newspaper. At CommonWealth, Bruce helped launch the magazine’s website and has written about a wide range of issues with a special focus on politics, tax policy, energy, and gambling. Bruce is a graduate of Ohio Wesleyan University and the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University. He lives in Dorchester.

According to a December report on domestic PPE production by the Congressional Research Service, the US has been heavily reliant on China for the equipment. Trade data from 2019 indicate China supplied the US with more than 70 percent of its imported textile face masks, 55 percent of its imported protective eyewear, and 55 percent of imports of protective garments for medical use.

Early in 2020, during the COVID-19 outbreak in China but before the disease spread to the US and other countries, China purchased available supplies of PPE on world markets. The Chinese government also nationalized production of PPE in February 2020, reducing the outflow of PPE. Both actions helped precipitate shortages in the US and other countries and some analysts say the actions were taken not just to address the country’s health needs, but for political reasons.

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