Aug. 6 (UPI) — White House trade adviser Peter Navarro told reporters Thursday that President Donald Trump will travel to Ohio and sign an executive order designed to lure more medical manufacturing to the United States.
Navarro, an assistant to Trump and director of trade and manufacturing policy, said the United States has been losing out to countries like China and India because of an “unfair competitive advantage because of their lax regulatory environment.”
During a conference call with reporters, he complained that governments in Ireland, Singapore and Switzerland also draw industry away from the United States because of their tax advantages.
“You see a country like Ireland punching way above its weight simply because of its tax advantage,” Navarro said.
The adviser said one section of Trump’s order will require several departments, including Health and Human Services, Veterans Affairs and Defense, to “buy American” when it comes to drugs and medical supplies.
Another section will focus on deregulation, which he says should free up regulators like the Food and Drug Administration to accelerate drug approvals and the Environmental Protection Agency for manufacturing facilities.
“This is a broad order that covers not just medicines, but medical supplies and equipment,” he said. “If we learned anything from the [COVID-19] pandemic, it’s that we’re dangerously overdependent on foreign nations for our essential medicines or medical supplies.”
The overarching goal of the order, he added, is to encourage pharmaceutical companies and other medical manufacturers to make products in the United States. It will also address drug pricing and ensure proper stockpiles of drugs and supplies for future pandemics.
Trump will sign the order during a visit to northern Ohio Thursday, when he will visit a Whirlpool manufacturing plant — the largest washing machine plant in the world that employs roughly 3,400 people.
Trump will deliver remarks after touring the plant, at about 3:15 p.m. EDT. The president will later leave Ohio and travel to New Jersey, where he will spend the night at his resort in Bedminster.