Trade Data Suggest Lack Of Prep For COVID-19: Dem Report

UNITED STATES - OCTOBER 22: Rep. Katie Porter, D-Calif., attends the House Financial Services Committee hearing titled “The End of Affordable Housing? A Review of the Trump Administration’s Plans to Change Housing Finance in America,” in Rayburn Building on Tuesday, October 22, 2019. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call),
UNITED STATES - OCTOBER 22: Rep. Katie Porter, D-Calif., attends the House Financial Services Committee hearing titled The End of Affordable Housing? A Review of the Trump Administrations Plans to Change Housing Fina... UNITED STATES - OCTOBER 22: Rep. Katie Porter, D-Calif., attends the House Financial Services Committee hearing titled The End of Affordable Housing? A Review of the Trump Administrations Plans to Change Housing Finance in America, in Rayburn Building on Tuesday, October 22, 2019. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images), MORE LESS
|
April 9, 2020 1:27 p.m.
EDITORS' NOTE: TPM is making our COVID-19 coverage free to all readers during this national health crisis. If you’d like to support TPM's reporters, editors and staff, the best way to do so is to become a member.

Trade data suggest that U.S. exports of medical supplies surged when the administration should have been preparing for a domestic coronavirus outbreak, according to a new report by Rep. Katie Porter (D-CA).

“In February 2020, the value of U.S. mask exports to China was 1094.0% higher than the 2019 monthly average,” Porter’s report said.  “In February 2020, the value of U.S ventilator exports to China was 292.2% higher than the 2019 monthly average.”

The report, which was released Monday, pointed to specific Trump administration policies — rather than just a general increase in foreign demand due to the spread of COVID-19 abroad —  as being a potential reason for the spike in export value. The New York Times reported in early March that the Commerce Department was touting a temporary change in regulations that facilitated exports of medical supplies to China by American vendors.

“Whether export numbers reflect increased per-unit costs for Chinese buyers, or an increase in units sold, the bottom line is the same: a payday for a few companies, and huge costs for the rest of us,” Porter’s report said.

Meanwhile, the value of imports of masks and ventilators decreased significantly in January and February, according to the report.

“The import data that we identified and reviewed also reveal that the Trump Administration failed to prepare for COVID-19 and to protect the health of Americans,” Porter said in the report, pointing to a 10 percent decline in import values for ventilators and a 14 percent decrease for N95 masks.

Additionally, Porter’s office analyzed the federal government contract information, and found that many of the U.S. contracts for medical supplies will not completed until September of October.

Read the report below:

Key Coronavirus Crisis Links

TPM’s COVID-19 hub.
Josh Marshall’s Twitter List of Trusted Experts (Epidemiologists, Researchers, Clinicians, Journalists, Government Agencies) providing reliable real-time information on the COVID-19 Crisis.
COVID-19 Tracking Project (updated data on testing and infections in the U.S.).
Johns Hopkins Global COVID-19 Survey (most up to date numbers globally and for countries around the world).
Worldometers.info (extensive source of information and data visualizations on COVID-19 Crisis — discussion of data here).
Comments
advertisement
Masthead Masthead
Founder & Editor-in-Chief:
Executive Editor:
Managing Editor:
Senior Editor:
Special Projects Editor:
Editor at Large:
General Counsel:
Publisher:
Head of Product:
Director of Technology:
Publishing Associate:
Front-End Developer:
Senior Designer:
SPECIAL DEAL FOR PAST TPM MEMBERS
40% OFF AN ANNUAL PRIME MEMBERSHIP
REJOIN FOR JUST $30