WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. President Donald Trump is planning an executive order soon to address the lack of medical product manufacturing in the United States in the wake of the nation’s novel coronavirus outbreak, the White House said on Monday.
Trump trade adviser Peter Navarro told Fox News in an interview that an order would soon require federal agencies to purchase U.S.-made medical products, saying the novel coronavirus outbreak had exposed the nation’s reliance on China.
Navarro gave no other details about the proposed order, including timing. He said additional steps were also needed, including deregulation that made it easier for pharmaceutical companies to operate in the United States.
The proposed order has met huge pushback from current and former officials, who argued that acting to curb imports could prompt China to curb urgently needed shipments of N95 masks and other protective equipment. It is being revised slightly and is still going through an interagency review process, according to the officials.
Security risk to the nation’s electric infrastructure over components was also an issue, Navarro said, adding that Trump seeks to protect the U.S. electricity system from cyber and other attacks and that that could lead to barriers on some imports from China and Russia.
(Reporting by Andrea Shalal and Susan Heavey; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama and Jonathan Oatis)