Biden commerce secretary pick won’t promise to keep Huawei on blacklist
While pledging a tough line on China, President Joe Biden‘s nominee for secretary of commerce would not promise to keep the Chinese telecommunications company Huawei on the United States’ economic blacklist.
“We can’t have the Chinese or really anyone having a backdoor into our network and compromising in any way our national or economic security,” Rhode Island Gov. Gina Raimondo (D) said at her Senate confirmation hearing Tuesday.
When talking about Huawei, Raimondo said she would “use the full tool kit at my disposal […] to protect Americans and our network from Chinese interference or any kind of backdoor influence into our network.”
Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) brought up that Huawei was one of many Chinese companies that had been placed on the Bureau of Industry and Security’s entities list under the Trump administration for their role in the ruling Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP) mass surveillance and repression of Uighur Muslims. On his last day in the department, former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo labeled the actions of the Chinese government as “genocide,” a view which Biden and his newly appointed Secretary of State Antony Blinken share.
When asked by Cruz if she would promise to maintain those companies on the blacklist, Raimondo said that “I will commit to working with you on that, and I certainly agree with you that the entities list is a powerful tool in the commerce secretary’s tool kit to shore up American national security.”
She was then asked about Huawei, to which Raimondo said that “I will review the policy, consult with you, consult with industry, consult with our allies, and make an assessment as to what’s best for American national and economic security.”
Cruz didn’t seem to like Raimondo’s answer, replying: “Well, I will say that there is chatter in Washington that the Biden administration is contemplating going easy on China and removing companies from the entities list—I certainly hope that does not happen, because I think that would be profoundly contrary to the national security interest of the United States.”
Later, Nebraska Sen. Ben Sasse (R) published a statement blasting this, saying: “This is ridiculous: Huawei didn’t change because America has a new President. Huawei is still the Chinese Communist Party’s tech puppet and a serious threat to national security.”
While White House press secretary Jen Psaki on Monday underscored “strategic patience” in the Biden administration’s interagency review process and its outreach to Republicans, Democrats, and global allies about its China strategy, former Director of National Intelligence John Ratcliffe felt that patience wasn’t the answer. On Monday, Ratcliffe told Fox News that the U.S. stance toward China needed action, not patience, according to The Washington Examiner. During her hearing, Raimondo said multiple times that the Biden administration was engaged in a broad review on how to tackle China.
Back in early December, Ratcliffe labeled China the “greatest threat” to freedom since World War II in a Wall Street Journal opinion piece.
While no vote was taken immediately on Raimondo’s nomination, Commerce Committee Chairman Roger Wicker (R-Miss.) predicted she would soon win confirmation, according to The Wall Street Journal.
You can follow Douglas Braff on Twitter @Douglas_P_Braff.
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FDA will work with China to import cancer drugs due to U.S. shortages
Earlier this week the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced it will be working to import chemotherapy drugs from, of all places, China. The drug, called Cisplatin, is to help “ramp up supply amidst rampant drug shortages in the U.S.” reports Foreign Desk News.
Foreign Desk News writes:
Cisplatin comes from drugmaker Qilu Pharmaceutical, which is marketed and produced in China but has not been approved by the FDA. According to a May 24 letter, Qilu will work with the Canadian-based drug company Apotex to import and distribute the medication, which will come in 50-milligram vials with Chinese labels.
“The FDA is responding to yet another generic drug shortage,” said Edmund F. Haislmaier, an expert in healthcare policy and markets at The Heritage Foundation. “The underlying cause of those shortages is that generic drugs have become low-margin commodity products,” he added.
Last week on Twitter, FDA commissioner Dr. Robert Califf said the partnership with Qilu Pharmaceutical is temporary but will provide patients with a potentially life-extending drug.
“The public should rest assured that we will continue all efforts within our authority to help the industry that manufactures and distributes these drugs meet all patient needs for the oncology drugs impacted by shortages,” Califf said.
The public should rest assured that we will continue all efforts within our authority to help the industry that manufactures and distributes these drugs meet all patient needs for the oncology drugs impacted by shortages. https://t.co/8XvOuJzSL4
— Dr. Robert M. Califf (@DrCaliff_FDA) June 3, 2023
Foreign Desk News adds:
The latest move by the FDA is sure to spark concern and debate in Congress, as lawmakers in the House and Senate have called on the Biden administration to de-couple the U.S. economy from the Chinese markets, given Beijing’s aggressive push to expand in the South-China Sea and eventually take over the island state of Taiwan. China has also spread illegal and dangerous synthetic opioids and fentanyl drugs across the U.S. southern border, resulting in the devastating deaths of many Americans.
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