China’s reputation has also suffered by pursuing its Belt and Road initiative, a $ 1 trillion collection of infrastructure projects spanning East Asia to Europe and Africa which was designed to expand Beijing’s influence and generate business for Chinese companies. Some recipients of Chinese credit have come to view the terms as predators, which has prompted accusations of China being a rising colonial power.
China has sent doctors and ventilators to Italy while providing aid to France, Germany and Spain. Last month, as the European Union banned exports of protective gear, President of Serbia Aleksandar Vucic embraced China’s largesse, even kissing the Chinese flag.
“European solidarity does not exist,” said Mr Vucic. “I believe in my brother, my friend, Xi Jinping, and I believe in helping China. The only country that can help us now is China. “
Chinese factories manufacture 80% of the world’s antibiotics and the building blocks of a wide range of drugs. The Chinese authorities have pledged to continue making these goods available to the world. Such measures may strengthen China’s position, but seem unlikely to pacify the Trump administration.
“Certainly it would help project Chinese soft power,” said Yanzhong Huang, senior researcher for global health at the Council on Foreign Relations. “But I don’t know if that would allay concerns in the West, particularly in the United States, about the need to diversify the supply of manufacturing active pharmaceutical ingredients. “
President Trump has long been obsessed with the trade deficit with China as a supposed dashboard of American victimization. But given China’s role as the dominant supplier of hospital equipment and medicines, American health actually depends on being able to buy more from Chinese factories.
“Right now, the brightest brightest hope we have is the importation of these products,” said trade expert Bown. “We would like to have the largest trade deficit we can find. “