Three Republican senators on June 11 introduced a bill that aims to ramp up the manufacturing of prescription drugs, medical supplies, and devices in the United States, as concerns continue to mount about the country’s dependence on China, now amplified by the CCP virus pandemic.
The Bring Entrepreneurial Advancements to Consumers Here In North America (BEAT CHINA) Act (pdf) was introduced Thursday by Sens. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), Kelly Loeffler (R-Ga.), and Joni Ernst (R-Iowa), to “incentivize pharmaceutical and medical device and supply manufacturers to relocate to the United States,” according to a news release from Cruz’s office.
According to the release, the bill would amend the tax code to provide incentives to companies who wish to relocate the manufacturing of pharmaceuticals, medical devices, and other supplies to the United States.
Cruz, in a statement, noted the United States must address its dependencies on Beijing, as much of America’s medical supply and manufacturing has been outsourced to China.
“Mouthpieces of the Chinese Communist Party have threatened to cut off U.S. access to life-saving pharmaceutical products,” Cruz said in a statement. “Because so much of our medical supply and manufacturing has been outsourced to China, this is a credible threat that if they were to follow through on, would be not just economic warfare but real warfare, endangering American lives.”
“I’ve called for structural, and bold initiatives to address our dependencies on China, and am proud to join my colleagues on this important measure to bring medical manufacturing and development back to our shores,” he said.
Loeffler expressed concern over America’s dependence on China, and noted that the CCP virus pandemic has “shown us just how dangerous it is to rely so heavily on other countries, including China,” for “critical, life-saving products” such as drugs and medical devices, and supplies like gowns, masks, and swabs.
“It is time we incentivize companies to bring those factories and jobs back to the United States,” he said in a statement.
Ernst meanwhile called the ongoing pandemic a “great awakening” which has highlighted vulnerabilities in America’s supply chain.
“While China is our trade partner, there’s no doubt we can find ways to produce and manufacture goods and supplies right here in the U.S., and this bill is good step toward that end,” he said.
Under the bill, qualifying medical supply and pharmaceutical businesses that relocate to the United States can have non-residential real property purchases considered to be 20-year property instead of 39 years. This change will allow companies to be eligible for “bonus depreciation,” the release states.
The bill would also allow qualifying businesses to exclude from gross income any gain earned on the disposition of assets in the country the company is moving from, the senators said.
In order to qualify and be eligible for the benefits under the “Beat China” act, companies must meet at least the same production levels in the United States as they had in the country they’re leaving.
News of the bill comes just weeks after President Donald Trump said he wanted the United States to be the world’s number one medical manufacturer, as he encouraged the reopening of America.
“Today, I’m declaring a simple but vital national goal: The United States will be the world’s premier pharmacy, drugstore, and medical manufacturer,” the president said in a speech at the plant on May 21. “We’re bringing our medicines back and many other things too.”
“We must produce critical equipment, supplies, pharmaceuticals, technologies for ourselves,” Trump added. “We cannot rely on foreign nations to take care of us, especially in times of difficulty.”
Trump said that the global CCP virus pandemic has “proven once and for all that to be a strong nation, America must be a manufacturing nation.”
“True national independence requires economic independence,” Trump said. “From day one, I’ve been fighting to bring back our jobs from China and many other countries.”
Mimi Nguyen Ly contributed to this report.