COVID-19: China Medical Supply Chains and Broader Trade Issues [Updated December 23, 2020] [open pdf - 2MB]
From the Summary: "The outbreak of Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19), first in China, and then globally, including in the United States, has drawn attention to the ways in which the U.S. economy depends on manufacturing and supply chains based in China. This report aims to assess current developments and identify immediate and longer range China trade issues for Congress. An area of particular concern to Congress has been U.S. shortages in medical supplies-- including personal protective equipment (PPE) and pharmaceuticals--as the United States stepped up efforts to contain the COVID-19 pandemic with limited domestic stockpiles and insufficient U.S. industrial capacity. Because of China's role as a global supplier of PPE, medical devices, antibiotics, and active pharmaceutical ingredients, reduced exports from China led to shortages of critical medical supplies in the United States. Exacerbating the situation, in early February 2020, the Chinese government nationalized control of the production and distribution of medical supplies in China-- directing all production for domestic use--and directed the bureaucracy and Chinese industry to secure supplies from the global market. Once past the initial peak of its COVID-19 outbreak, the Chinese government appears to have prioritized certain countries and selectively released some medical supplies for overseas delivery."
CRS Report for Congress, R46304
Congressional Research Service: https://crsreports.congress.gov/