President Joe Biden and his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping will reportedly announce a new agreement to crack down on the export of chemicals used to manufacture fentanyl at their summit meeting in San Francisco on Wednesday.
According to Bloomberg, which first reported about the deal, Beijing has agreed to go after companies that both produce the drug and export the precursor chemicals used to make fentanyl.
As part of the purported deal, the U.S. government has agreed to lift its sanctions against the Chinese government’s Institution of Forensic Science, which is accused of conducting mass surveillance and human rights abuses in the Xinjiang region.
The report added that the deal is still being finalized.
Previous efforts by the two countries to crack down on the fentanyl trade ran into a wall as bilateral relations between Beijing and Washington worsened in the past few years.
A deal could be a big political win for Biden ahead of next year’s presidential elections—allowing him to push back against Republican attacks.
According to the CDC, fentanyl is 50 times more potent than heroin and 100 times more potent than morphine.
70,601. That is the number of deaths in the U.S. in 2021 involving an overdose of synthetic opioids other than methadone, primarily fentanyl, according to data released by the National Center for Health Statistics. This accounted for more than 65% of the 106,699 drug overdose deaths reported in the country that year.
While Beijing has cracked down on the manufacturing and export of fentanyl itself, Chinese companies now export the precursor chemicals needed to make the synthetic opioid to Mexican cartels. The cartels then make the drug and send it across the border into the U.S. This means China’s cooperation is critical in helping curb the flow of the deadly drug and a deal for the same has been in the works for several months, according to a the Wall Street Journal report from July. But progress on the matter has been slow as the relationship between the two countries has slumped to its lowest point in decades.
Biden, Xi to Announce Deal for China to Crack Down on Fentanyl (Bloomberg)
Sour U.S.-China Relations Feed the Fentanyl Crisis (Wall Street Journal)