Legislation introduced by three GOP senators on Thursday aims to lessen America’s dependence on China for prescription drugs, medical supplies and devices by increasing manufacturing across the country.
Republican Sens. Kelly Loeffler, Joni Ernst and Ted Cruz introduced the “Bring Entrepreneurial Advancements to Consumers Here in North America Act” — also known as the “BEAT CHINA Act” — “to incentivize pharmaceutical and medical device and supply manufacturers to relocate to the United States,” according to Loeffler’s media release.
“For too long, our manufacturing has moved overseas, taking American jobs, jeopardizing our supply chains and forcing us to depend on competitors,” Loeffler said.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has shown us just how dangerous it is to rely so heavily on other countries, including China, for critical, life-saving products like drugs and medical devices as well as supplies like gowns, masks and swabs.”
The Georgia Republican added, “It is time we incentivize companies to bring those factories and jobs back to the United States.”
“The COVID-19 pandemic has been what I call a ‘great awakening’ when it comes to the vulnerabilities in our supply chain,” Sen. Ernst said
“It’s clear now, maybe more than ever, that our nation has become all too dependent on the Communist Party of China for items like PPE, prescription drugs, and other essential medical supplies. We need to fix that.”
This bill is the Senate companion to the “BEAT CHINA Act” H.R. 6690 introduced by Texas Rep. Chip Roy on May 4.
The new legislation is also part of the “Made in the USA” pillar of Loeffler’s “USA Restoring and Igniting the Strength of our Economy,” or “USA RISE” plan.
Under the “BEAT CHINA Act,” medical supply and pharmaceutical companies would qualify for certain tax incentives, including having non-residential real property purchases considered to be 20-year property instead of 39-year property.
This would allow companies to qualify for “bonus depreciation” and the property purchase to be fully tax-deductible in the first year.
In order to prevent companies from taking unnecessary tax hits, “Qualifying companies will also be able to exclude from gross income any gain earned on the disposition of assets in the country the company is moving from,” according to the media release.
In order to qualify for the tax incentives, companies will need to ensure they maintain the same level of production they had in the country they left.
This legislation comes after an intelligence report from the Department of Homeland Security said that Chinese leaders covered up how contagious the novel coronavirus was in order to stock up on medical supplies.
The four-page report obtained by The Associated Press said that China “intentionally concealed the severity” of the pandemic, adding to Trump administration officials’ criticisms of the country’s response to the global outbreak.
The analysis, dated May 1 and marked “for official use only,” showed that China had increased imports and decreased exports of medical supplies in January.
The country had covered up its movements by “denying there were export restrictions and obfuscating and delaying provision of its trade data,” according to the report.
The report also concluded that China had chosen not to inform the World Health Organization that the coronavirus “was a contagion” so it could order medical supplies and import face masks and surgical gowns from abroad.
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