Sen. Chris Coons: After COVID-19 Congress must look at incentives to bring back manufacturing from China

In the wake of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, Congress must look at offering incentives to American businesses to bring back manufacturing from China, Sen. Chris Coons, D-Del., urged Thursday.

Appearing on "America's Newsroom" with host Sandra Smith, Coons said that he was hearing from public health officials, physicians, other healthcare workers and his state's governor directly that Delaware was also facing a "critical shortage of personal protective equipment" like masks, ventilators and other resources – test kits in particular.

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"I hope that the president will work with us in Congress," he said. "We'll provide the financial support, the appropriations, and he will provide the authority. And, we will quickly ramp up U.S.-based production of some of these critical issues."

Coons said that during his tenure on the Small Business Committee, Florida Republican Sen. Marco Rubio had held a hearing about how the United States' supply chain for both medical equipment and pharmaceutical components is critically reliant on China – an issue also raised by fellow Republicans.

"This reliance wasn’t some accidental byproduct of globalization but the outcome of a deliberate strategy by the Chinese Communist Party, which made biomedicine and high-end medical equipment a priority of its 'Made in China 2025' plan," Rubio penned in a co-authored op-ed with former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich.

"The plan put in writing what had long been practiced by Beijing and further encouraged its companies’ predatory practices while providing short-term bargains for foreign companies’ presence in China," he accused.

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"Earlier in your broadcast you were showing how Wuhan – the province in China where this came from, or the city – is now showing no new infections," Coons told Smith. "That is encouraging because, frankly, we are critically reliant on China's production to be able to respond to this crisis."

"And, going forward, Sandra, I think we should look hard at providing incentives to American manufacturers and small businesses to bring back to our country some of this critical manufacturing capacity," he concluded.