U.S. Trade Executive Robert Lighthizer, on Monday, stated the U.S. would seek to promote domestic production of vital medical supplies in light of the strategic vulnerabilities laid bare by the coronavirus crisis.
Lighthizer informed trade ministers from the Group of 20 major economies (G20) that Washington agreed there was a need to resolve supply network turmoil and be aware of the impact of its actions on neighbors.
He warned in opposition to efforts to use the health and financial crisis to push “other agendas,” either in the trade or elsewhere, and stated that such attempts would sow distrust.
Some U.S. officers are concerned that China could exploit the crisis to push for tariff reduction before fulfilling its purchase commitments under an interim U.S.-China trade deal inked in January.
Some U.S. companies struck by the tariffs have requested Washington to offer relief at a time of widespread closures across the U.S. geared toward arresting the spread of the virus. However, Others are pressuring the Trump administration to keep the tariffs intact.
White House trade consultant Peter Navarro last week declines the Trump administration was considering a 3-month deferral of tariff payments on imported items, saying such a step would “enrich China at the cost of American workers.”
Navarro is also drafting an executive order that may expand “Buy America” provisions to the medical and pharmaceutical industries – a change that Chinese officers have described as unrealistic.