Leaders in both houses of Congress want federal trade officials to further investigate the supply chain for COVID-19-related goods and devices, but don’t expect any answers before December.
Members of the House Ways and Means and Senate Finance committees wrote a letter to U.S. International Trade Commission (USITC) chairman Jason Kearns last week, asking for a more detailed look at industries that produce supplies for COVID-19 patients and frontline workers as well as key products within those sectors. The request is a follow-up to a report that USITC produced in April to identify imports of medical supplies and products relevant to the response to COVID-19.
On Friday, August 21, the trade commission agreed to the lawmakers’ requests, which include:
- A brief overview of key U.S. industry sectors producing COVID-related goods.
- More detailed case studies on important products within each relevant industry sector, such as N95 respirators, ventilators, vaccines and COVID-19 test kits.
- Additional details regarding U.S. industry, market and trade.
- More information on supply chain challenges and constraints.
“The USITC is seeking input for the investigation from all interested parties and requests that the information focus on the issues for which the USITC is requested to provide information and advice,” the commission said in a news release. “The USITC will hold a public hearing in connection with the investigation on September 23, 2020.”
The commission will accept written comments until October 2, 2020. The USITC has until Dec. 15, 2020 to deliver its updated report, which will be made public, the lawmakers said.
This article has been updated with information from the USITC.