Marco Rubio: China has ‘tremendous leverage’ over US economy, pharmaceutical market

Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., said Thursday that the Chinese government has tremendous leverage over the United States and could potentially cause a shortage of essential supplies to combat the coronavirus pandemic.

“About 80 percent of the active ingredients – the different components of a drug – about 80 percent of those come from abroad, and the overwhelming majority of that 80 percent are manufactured in China,” Rubio told “Fox & Friends.”

RUBIO, GINGRICH: CORONAVIRUS LAYS BARE CHINA'S POWER OVER PUBLIC HEALTH, ECONOMY – HERE'S WHAT MUST HAPPEN NOW

Rubio said that although the drug may be assembled in the U.S., all the components of it come from China because domestic pharmaceutical companies have offshore interests overseas for the cheaper labor.

Rubio and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich wrote an op-ed, “Coronavirus lays bare China's power over public health, economy – Here's what must happen now.”

In the op-ed, they wrote, “For years, China has enticed American multinational corporations with access to its markets in exchange for off-shoring and sharing intellectual property. Americans watched as Beijing captured critical portions of global supply chains, including in pharmaceutical drugs and medical equipment.”

“Now, in the face of a pandemic, the absence of domestic capacity in critical medical sectors has critically endangered both the U.S. public health system and our economy. The inability to quickly increase the production of key supplies, such as surgical masks, medical gowns, respirators and pharmaceutical drugs limits our ability to mitigate the worst effects of the disease in this emerging crisis and in any future pandemic.”

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Rubio said that the Chinese Communist Party newspaper wrote an op-ed mocking the United States. Rubio said that the op-ed implored the U.S. to give “thanks” and “apologies” to China, as opposed to blaming China for the spread of the outbreak.

“What it tells you is that they realize that in a moment of crisis — let’s say the U.S. and China have a showdown over something and they threaten to cut us off of our pharmaceutical supplies, they could trigger a domestic problem here that would make it difficult for us to confront them.”

“That’s a tremendous amount of leverage,” Rubio said.