Statesman: U.S. companies kept shipping masks overseas even as hospitals ran out and despite warnings

U.S. Rep. Lloyd Doggett, D-Texas, raised questions with Azar and Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross in early March after a Commerce Department flyer circulated that encouraged businesses to take advantage of temporary Chinese import incentives and pushed U.S. companies to sell more of their medical supplies critical to a coronavirus response abroad.

Businesses were encouraged to export protective masks, mechanical ventilators and even mask making machines to China.

“In January, this administration was being told by its own members about the importance of doing something,” Doggett told USA TODAY. He said instead of addressing the issue, the federal government continued to facilitate exporting protective equipment.

“I’m very much an internationalist and I believe in cooperating with other countries,” Doggett said. “But at a time of such dire need in March, to be shipping what we need for our health care professionals and first responders abroad is a real betrayal of the national interest.”

Read the full story here.
News Credit

Author: Dian Zhang, Katie Wedell and Erin Mansfield

Publisher: USA Today, republished via Austin American-Statesman

Date: May 8, 2020