COVID-19 Shortages Prompts Local Leaders to Push for More American-Made Production

Updated: May. 6, 2020 at 5:39 PM EDT
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SARASOTA, Fla. (WWSB) - We've been battling the COVID-19 pandemic for about two months now, but Americans still find themselves lacking essential supplies to keep themselves safe and healthy. Supply chain experts say the majority of these items will meet demand soon – but others could still take a while. That’s why local leaders say now is the time to make sure moving forward everything is “American Made”.

"It’s something that has become very apparent is just how dangerous it is that our national security is at risk with our dependency on China,” Sarasota County Commissioner, Christian Ziegler, said.

With Chinese factories temporarily shutting down these last few months, and they’ve implemented export restrictions, everything has taken much longer to get here. The COVID-19 crisis has brought to light the fact that much of the world depends on one country for pretty much everything. This pandemic has caused a worldwide scramble for supplies in almost every industry - especially when it comes to medical gear.

"The antibody tests we bought were just sitting in China, and we had a really tough time getting them out of there. One of the things we need to realize through this pandemic is understand that all this stuff should be made in the United States, not in China. We don’t want our health destiny to be rested in the hands of a communist dictatorship,” Governor Ron DeSantis said at a press conference on Tuesday.

There’s now a push to make all products here. Congressman Vern Buchanan introduced a bill titled “The Securing America’s Medicine Cabinet Act”. This would ramp up the manufacturing of drugs and medical supplies in the United States.

"I never realized, and I don't think many people realized, that 80% of the ingredients in terms of manufacturing of the drugs that everybody takes – especially in an area like ours where we have a lot of seniors – are made or produced in China. They've just threatened to take those drugs away, so that's why I've introduced this bill,” Congressman Buchanan explained.

Sarasota County is also making its own new policy to ensure our local government is giving preference to American made products over Chinese.

"When you go to purchase a product, the U.S. product is a little bit more expensive, but almost always the American made product is better quality. Yes, price is important, but quality and stability is also important,” Ziegler said.

Officials say the United States must focus on not only employing and buying American products, but making sure everything can be produced here, so we are never in this vulnerable position again.

"I believe that us tax dollars should stay in the USA. By keeping those dollars here and within our own border, what that does is it encourages the revival of American manufacturing across the country. Whether it’s in our backyard here in Sarasota County, or if it’s across the United States. Keeping those dollars and cycling them through our economy is going to be a lot healthier than shipping them overseas,” Ziegler tells ABC7.

Sarasota County Commissioners unanimously voted to allow staff to come up with a draft proposal of this policy, and will be discussing the options again within the next 30 days.

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