COVID-19, China, and the Tangled Web of Globalized Supply Chains: Page 2 of 2

“I’m a manufacturing guy, not a political commentator,” said Bonifacio, “but I do believe that the November election, which is right around the corner, will have a lot to say about the cracks in our healthcare system that have been exposed during this pandemic. On the pharma side, for a country as wealthy as the United States to rely on foreign entities for so many active pharmaceutical ingredients is really inexcusable,” said Bonifacio. Especially, he added, when “we are spending more than 17% of GDP, or almost $1 for every $5, on healthcare, markedly more than any other country.”

Bonifacio foresees some push back against China and tougher relations in the short term, but hopes that “countries take the longer view that globalization has already happened — the horse has left the barn, so to speak. Countries choosing to isolate rather than collaborate on the world’s toughest challenges ahead will be a missed opportunity for generations to come,” said Bonifacio.

For his part, Sturgeon believes that our relationship with China will continue to evolve, as it has in the three years under the Trump administration. “If China reneges on current agreements, such as buying more agricultural products, this could come to a head quickly. I think we’re holding off simply because China could stop sending us goods that we need. Once we no longer need them, though, I think the gloves will come off,” said Sturgeon.

This global crisis has even led to the unthinkable — New York Mayor Bill de Blasio echoing the sentiments of President Trump, as noted by the New York Daily News. “I don’t understand why, for the life of me, our country was not prepared for this and we don’t make the things we need in the United States of America,” said de Blasio, according to the Daily News. “And this is absolutely a negative result of globalization, a real indictment of all the decisions made over the decades to ship manufacturing out of the United States. And it has to be reversed, bluntly.”

The facts on the ground suggest that we may be on our way there already. A recent survey conducted by Thomas reported that 64% of manufacturers polled were “likely to bring manufacturing production and sourcing back to North America.” That was a 10% increase from one year ago, said Thomas, and it is one more indication that, perhaps, this crisis will not go to waste.

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