Trump's Pathetic Response to Medical Supply Shortages

Mish

The US is running out of medical supplies to deal with the coronavirus. Please check out Trump's amazing response.

Short of Supplies Now

To alleviate medical supply shortages, the Trump administration has opened up a 3-Month Comment Window for companies to apply for tariff exemptions on medical supplies from China.

The U.S. Trade Representative, in a statement late Friday, invited the public, businesses and government agencies to submit “comments on possible further modifications to remove duties from additional medical care products.”

USTR said the comment period will run until June 25 and won’t replace the process to request exclusions from the tariffs. Comments submitted “are limited to comments on products subject to the tariff actions and relevant to the medical response to the coronavirus,” the USTR said.

To facilitate timely consideration of possible modifications, interested persons should submit comments as promptly as possible,” the agency said.

Trump said earlier this week that tariff relief wasn’t something he was considering. “There’s no reason to do that. China is paying us billions and billions of dollars in tariffs,” he said in a news conference Wednesday. “I can’t imagine Americans asking for that.”

Comments Until June 25! Timely?

We need supplies now.

Trump's amazing response is to open up a 3-month window for comments.

Wow.

In case you missed it, please check out the Best Coronavirus Timeline Synopsis Ever Put Together.

It is a powerful collection of all of Trump's coronavirus gaffes in one spot. It will take less than 2 minutes to play.

Mike "Mish" Shedlock

Comments (63)
Quatloo
Quatloo

Trump said earlier this week that tariff relief wasn’t something he was considering. “There’s no reason to do that. China is paying us billions and billions of dollars in tariffs,” he said in a news conference Wednesday. “I can’t imagine Americans asking for that.”

I heard him say that too. Does he really believe that Americans aren’t the ones paying the tariffs on products imported from China? Does he just hate the idea of Americans having a high standard of living?

No. 1-20
Sechel
Sechel

This is the time for fast and bold action. Agree a three month comment window is ridiculous. Yet another case where ideology is getting in the way of common sense. There are clearly some in the decision making process who have yet to grasp the gravitas of what is occurring. It's possible Trump reverses the decision in the next 72 hours. That's been the M.O. of late. I was applauding Trump's use of the defense Production Act which would have been a bold and needed move, but as soon as Trump announced it he's seemed to have backed away from it. It's very confusing what Trump has actually authorized if anything. Seems he's just negotiating one on one with individual companies, not the most efficient process during a crisis and we keep hearing him talk in terms of weeks and no days despite already being over two months into this crisis. The history books will not paint Trump's response well. I keep using the word shambolic and I can't find a better word to describe it.

tokidoki
tokidoki

Come on people. It's obvious where the 3 month thing came from?

Russia, who got it from China, who probably got it from .... Javanka. They probably need 3 months to set up some kind of joint venture that will benefit massively from this ;)

njbr
njbr

....(St. Paul) – March 20, 2020 – Nurses are calling on Minnesotans to help with the drastic shortage of personal protective equipment (PPE) in Twin Cities hospitals. The Minnesota Nurses Association is accepting donations of N95 masks, which will be distributed to the State Emergency Operations Center to distribute to nurses who are running out at their respective hospitals....

RonJ
RonJ

Tariffs wouldn't be an issue if medical products were made in the U.S.A.

One story i came across said that an outbound ship was told to return to China because they needed the items on board. There was also concern about coming needs in India, as to whether their supplies would be available for export.

njbr
njbr

One non-N95 mask per staff member per day, NYC Columbia hospital...

How long will they stay healthy?

Art Izagud
Art Izagud

Wouldn't it be the opportunistic free trade mentality that shipped our vital supply chain to communist china that is to blame for supply shortages. Trump has been trying to fix that.

hmk
hmk

Am I missing something. ??? How in the hell would tariff s on or off affect supply???? We will buy whatever is available at any price. It appears that you chronic winy TDs ers
have nothing else better to do but constantly bitch

Freebees2me
Freebees2me

I guess the only two manufacturers in the World of the testing swabs are both located in Milan Italy, of all places.

Invade Italy

Send the Army or Marines over their to get supplies or run the factory and let's get the supplies back to the USA.

DBG8489
DBG8489

This makes me ask:

Why would someone not choose to make those masks in the US prior to this outbreak?

Of course the simple answer is "money " - as in - they can't make enough money doing it here.

But why? Why is it not possible to make the masks here and be profitable doing it?.

Too often in the past when faced with this problem, our answer has been "force" as in: raise tariffs high enough so that we create a market here for a product.

And we end up here - needing something we can't get at any price if the foreign suppliers decide to shut off our access.

So why? Why isn't there a market for products to be made here without resorting to the force of taxation?

If we can solve for that, we can fix the problem. And not just for masks, but for a whole host of products.

rafterman
rafterman

How does a US agency named CENTERS FOR DISEASE CONTROL not have a huge stockpile of personal protective gear for a event such as this? The CENTERS FOR DISEASE CONTROL is THE expert in pandemics, has a annual budget of $11 Billion,
and over 10,000 employees.

But the CENTERS for DISEASE CONTROL spent money on a visitor center that includes a 70'x40' video display screen, a waterfall and gardens a museum and provides tours.

A 2007 US senate review of the Centers for Disease Control had this as one of its 6 recommendations-

CDC should reprioritize its funding and efforts toward preventing and controlling diseases. Period.

It's Trump's fault!

ohno
ohno

Might be time to kiss china's ass. Won't happen just saying. We'd go bomb the convoy and steal the bounty first.

Mike2112
Mike2112

I'm sure the Chinese govt is going to make it a priority to get America all the supplies it needs! If dealing with this outbreak means less production due to quarantines or travel restrictions then I'm sure China will give America a priority claim on whatever inventory they produce.

Yea, /sarc.

rafterman
rafterman

Please read the the CDC report to congress from 2018 located at

www.cdc.gov/washington/testimony/2018/t20180615.htm

Most importantly read the 3rd bullet point of conclusion at the end

Realist
Realist

Medical supplies, such as masks and gloves are manufactured in dozens of countries all over the world, including the US. The annual global production of these items matches the normal global demand. The problem today is that the spread of this pandemic has caused a big spike in worldwide demand and the many manufacturers simply cannot keep up to 10x demand. They cannot expand their capacity fast enough. Since the virus hit China first, and China has close to half of the global manufacturing capacity of many of these items, China stopped exporting, due to their domestic needs. This is both logical and expected. But it leaves a reduced supply for everyone else.

Europe was hit a few weeks before the US. The manufacturers outside of China could not respond to the massive increase in demand. But Europe got a jump on the US at least.

Trump was warned in January about this virus. Rather than attempting to prepare for the worst by asking US manufacturers to ramp up production, just in case, he chose to do nothing, and to deny there was a problem at all. This contributes to the US shortage.

He was also offered working test kits early on by WHO, but he rejected them because he wanted a made-in-America solution. This has been a disaster as the US is still struggling to test, three months into the pandemic.

The problem with a pandemic (unlike a hurricane, flood, earthquake, etc) is that it is Global. This means the entire global community is fighting over the same scarce resources. The solution is not to have manufacturing of these items in your own country, because you still won’t be able to ramp up production to meet the explosion in demand.

The solution is to have a Pandemic response team that is always working in the background, constantly monitoring for threats, providing early warning, and stockpiling appropriate levels of supplies in order to be better prepared.

I believe Obama made a start at setting up this response team, though I do not know how robust this team was. Trump disbanded this team, and delegated whatever duties they had to several other agencies. When some of these agencies warned him about the virus, he simply ignored them.

RayCane
RayCane

Didn't China just threaten us with not providing the antibiotics we were stupid enough to outsource to them? Trump needs to announce the immediate construction of mask-manufactruring facilities, viral pandemic be damned. BTW - China is hoarding the masks it makes,. BTW - there are youtube videos which will show you how to make your own masks. Take a little initiative and stop relying on the @#$%#$!! Government.

Faithman
Faithman

Mish, you're killing me. I used to enjoy your take on the world but since Trump got elected, wow, you're singularly focused. You know, everything in the world is NOT his fault! He doesn't get a lot of "style" points from me but he's accomplished more positive things in 3 years that his predecessors did since Reagan. Obama got mega points from the press/celebrities, he destroyed much of our freedom and independence.

George Phillies
George Phillies

Isn't the three-month comment window the window that is legally required to change tariff rates, so there is no legal alternative here?

awc13
awc13

he has done more than that. yes, there needs to be long term and short term aspects to this. the experts say this may be around for a long while

ColoradoAccountant
ColoradoAccountant

You need to review Kudlow's interview on CNBC today. Never have I heard such poor excuses for an administration being way behind the curve.


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