China’s move toward manufacturing dominance began more than 30 years ago when the country adopted a series of economic reforms. Congress granted China permanent normal trade relations status in 2000, and in 2001, China joined the World Trade Organization. As additional trade restrictions were lifted, China attracted new investors and companies looking to lower manufacturing costs.
U.S. companies were among those setting up shop in China, including mask makers 3M and Honeywell.
By 2011, China’s exports had grown by more than 500% while manufacturing employment in the U.S dropped by almost 20%, at least two million jobs. China became the biggest supplier of imports to the U.S., about $452 billion worth in 2019.
“America’s mask makers left America in an uncoordinated mass exodus,” said Mike Bowen, CEO of Texas-based Prestige Ameritech, one of the nation’s few domestic mask manufacturers.
Today, fewer than 10% of the masks used in the U.S. are made here. And China makes almost half the world’s masks, gowns and gloves and other PPE.
So, when China nationalized its factories in February and directed all mask production to domestic use, that left the U.S. and much of the world in a quandary.
"Quandry" is one way to describe having your clockweights in a vice, I suppose.
And no, the Chinese are not behaving any more responsibly. To the contrary.
Furthermore, a so-called great nation that cannot make basic painkillers to treat patients is not great.
But I'm sure that Joe Biden has a plan to make us more independent and bring jobs home.