U.S. House Report Alleges China Subsidizing Fentanyl Precursor Production, Fueling Opioid Crisis

China subsidizes fentanyl precursor production, fueling deadly US opioid crisis, alleges bipartisan House report. Calls for US action to hold China accountable and stem the flow of synthetic opioids.

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Aqsa Younas Rana
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U.S. House Report Alleges China Subsidizing Fentanyl Precursor Production, Fueling Opioid Crisis

U.S. House Report Alleges China Subsidizing Fentanyl Precursor Production, Fueling Opioid Crisis

A new report by the U.S. House Select Committee on the Strategic Competition between the United States and the Chinese Communist Party accuses the Chinese government of directly subsidizing the manufacturing of illicit fentanyl precursor chemicals, fueling the deadly opioid epidemic in the United States. The bipartisan investigation found that Chinese companies are producing nearly all of the illegal fentanyl precursors, and the Chinese Communist Party holds interests in several of these firms.

According to the report, China is providing tax rebates and other financial incentives to companies that manufacture and export fentanyl analogues, precursors, and other synthetic narcotics, as long as they sell these products outside of China. The committee accessed a Chinese government website that revealed these subsidies, which have been in place since at least 2018. The report states that this support has contributed to the surge in fentanyl-related overdose deaths in the U.S., which reached a record high in 2021.

Why this matters: The fentanyl crisis has claimed tens of thousands of American lives annually and devastated countless families and communities across the country. The report's findings suggest that the Chinese government is actively enabling and profiting from the illicit drug trade, raising serious concerns about China's role in the ongoing public health emergency.

The report also alleges that China has thwarted U.S. law enforcement investigations into these illicit manufacturers by warning them when the U.S. has requested assistance. Former U.S. Attorney General William Barr testified to the committee that the evidence suggests China is "knee deep" in sponsoring and facilitating the export of fentanyl precursors.

In response to these findings, the committee has recommended several measures to address the crisis, including establishing a joint task force to target the global fentanyl supply chain, strengthening sanctions authorities, and bolstering customs enforcement to restrict fentanyl trafficking. The report calls on Congress to clarify the president's power to sanction those involved in drug trafficking and for the U.S. to impose financial penalties on violators.

The U.S. and China have discussed their joint effort to counter the illegal narcotics trade, but the report casts doubt on China's commitment to cracking down on the issue. The committee found no evidence of new criminal enforcement actions by Beijing to curb the flow of fentanyl chemicals into the U.S. Former U.S. officials stated that China has taken no effective action to combat the fentanyl crisis since reaching a consensus with the U.S. last year.

The report's findings highlight the urgent need for the U.S. to take decisive action to address the fentanyl crisis and hold China accountable for its role in the crisis. As fentanyl continues to claim lives and tear apart communities across the country, the U.S. government faces mounting pressure to confront China's alleged complicity in the illicit drug trade and work to stem the flow of deadly synthetic opioids into the United States.

Key Takeaways

  • House report accuses China of subsidizing illicit fentanyl precursor production.
  • Chinese firms produce nearly all illegal fentanyl precursors, with CCP interests.
  • China provides tax rebates to export fentanyl analogues, fueling U.S. opioid crisis.
  • China has thwarted U.S. investigations by warning illicit manufacturers.
  • Report calls for joint task force, sanctions, and customs enforcement to address crisis.