Here is a fascinating new bit of information. It’s not new per se. But either I hadn’t heard about it or perhaps it’s simply been overrun in the furious last month of news. As recently as the end of February, the US Commerce Department was encouraging US companies to take advantage of newly relaxed Chinese import regulations to export masks, ventilators and other COVID-relevant medical supplies to China.
This is consistent with the Trump Commerce Department’s focus on gaining entry into Chinese markets. For China it made sense. They were the just beginning to get their own COVID-19 outbreak under control. But it was more than a month after the first US case was reported on January 21st and within days of the first community spread cases and deaths being reported in the US.
The Commerce Department bulletin advertised US Commercial Service China staff were available to facilitate the special export opportunity.
Here is a screen capture of the Commerce Department Bulletin.
The alert was flagged on February 28th by Texas Congressman Lloyd Doggett (D). It was then referenced in a brief item in The New York Times on March 2nd.