Senator Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) and Rep. Mike Gallagher (R-Wis.) are planning to introduce a bill that will reduce American’s dangerous dependence on pharmaceuticals from China. A joint statement from both elected officials reminds us, “After China covered up the spread of the China virus which lead to a global pandemic, a Chinese Communist Party organization asserted that Beijing could ‘announce strategic control over medical products and ban exports to the United States. Then, the United States will be caught in the ocean of viruses.’”
But as we address the most glaringly obvious and current American national security vulnerabilities, we must make decisions that fortify other, equally important American businesses and industries that are susceptible to foreign gamesmanship because of our public health crisis.
The pharmaceutical industry is but one area of concern. China has an opportunity now to aggressively displace the U.S. manufacturing sector of the economy. The failing, state-owned Commercial Aircraft Corporation (COMAC) has Chinese government support and they are trying to compete with American companies. Airbus is a European multinational aerospace corporation that has a facility in Alabama and wants to displace American companies that produce American manufactured and owned aircraft. We must make certain that we do not hand over another critical industry to foreign nations at the expense of American jobs or America’s national security.
The money to support these fragile industries also support other American contractors and businesses like Honeywell, General Electric and Spirit AeroSystems, who are also in equally sensitive positions on account of the Chinese virus.
Boeing confirmed Monday it was in talks with the administration about short-term support, while U.S. President Donald Trump said Tuesday the U.S. government would provide support. Boeing has noted that typically 70% of its revenue flows to its 17,000 suppliers and has told lawmakers that without significant assistance the entire U.S. aviation manufacturing sector could collapse.
“This will be one of the most important ways for airlines, airports, suppliers and manufacturers to bridge to recovery. Funds would support the health of the broader aviation industry, because much of any liquidity support to Boeing will be used for payments to suppliers to maintain the health of the supply chain,” explained Boeing spokesman Gordon Johndroe.
The American aerospace industry will not survive without a bridge to liquidity and the governments of our adversaries, China and the European nations propping up Airbus, hope Congress will refuse to act clearing a path for them to move in.
China is already working with Russia on aircraft to compete with America’s aviation industry. Now is the time to review our home grown enterprises and make certain the government decisions strengthen rather than weaken critical U.S. business institutions.