President Joe Biden and Chinese Communist Party (CCP) General Secretary Xi Jinping are expected to seal a deal in which China will bolster anti-drug trafficking measures in exchange for the U.S. lifting sanctions on a Chinese government ministry, Bloomberg reported Monday.
Sources familiar with the situation told Bloomberg that the People’s Republic of China (PRC) will crack down on Chinese companies manufacturing chemical precursors for fentanyl in exchange for the U.S. lifting sanctions on the Ministry of Public Security’s Institute of Forensic Science, which the Commerce Department added to the Entity List in 2020 for “engaging in human rights violations and abuses” in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region. Biden and Xi are slated to meet for the first time in a year on the sidelines of the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit in San Francisco on Nov. 15.
“We’re hoping to see some progress on that issue this coming week,” National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan said Monday, according to the New York Post. “That could then open the door to further cooperation on other issues where we aren’t just managing things, but we’re actually delivering tangible results.”
Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid that is 80-100 times stronger than morphine, according to the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA), and accounted for almost 70% of the over 110,000 U.S. overdose deaths in 2022.
Should a deal materialize, it will be at least the third time that China has promised to get tough on fentanyl. In 2016, China agreed to increase counter-narcotics operations, and Xi again agreed to launch a crackdown in 2018.
Yet, China’s culpability in the fentanyl trade has endured despite Xi’s assurances.
China and Mexico are “the primary source countries for fentanyl and fentanyl-related substances trafficked directly into the United States,” according to a 2020 DEA intelligence report. “China remains the primary source of fentanyl and fentanyl-related substances trafficked through international mail and express consignment operations environment, as well as the main source for all fentanyl-related substances trafficked into the United States.”
While China ultimately scheduled fentanyl and related substances in 2019, the Chinese Embassy in the U.S. has since downplayed the PRC’s role in manufacturing fentanyl.
“On May 1, 2019, the Chinese government took the lead globally in officially scheduling fentanyl substances as a class, though there was no large-scale abuse or prominent hazards of them in the country,” the Chinese Embassy’s website states.
In December 2021, the State Department announced rewards “of up to $5 million for information” related to Zheng Guohua and Zheng Fujing for their alleged roles in operating a “worldwide online chemical distribution business using numerous front companies to manufacture and distribute hundreds of illicit controlled substances, including fentanyl analogues.”
More recently, in June and October the Department of Justice unsealed indictments against multiple Chinese chemical companies for alleged crimes related to manufacturing and distributing fentanyl-related chemicals.
The White House and the Chinese Embassy did not respond immediately to the Daily Caller News Foundation’s request for comment.
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