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Biden signs executive order countering China in biotech

China’s aggressive move into the American biotech industry is a national threat, prompting President Joe Biden to sign an executive order addressing it.

The White House announced on Sept. 12 that Biden signed the order launching the National Biotechnology and Biomanufacturing Initiative (NBBI) in order to “ensure we can make in the United States all that we invent in the United States.”

The initiative’s goal is to encourage biomanufacturing in pharmaceuticals as well as in other industries, such as agriculture, plastics, and energy, the White House stated.

It comes as other countries, including China, are investing heavily in biotech as they try to become the world’s resource for biotechnology products and solutions.

“The United States has relied too heavily on foreign materials and bioproduction, and our past off-shoring of critical industries, including biotechnology, threatens our ability to access materials like important chemicals and active pharmaceutical ingredients,” the statement reads.

The White House, citing industry analyses, estimated that bioengineering could account for more than a third of global output of manufacturing industries by the end of the decade. This represents nearly $30 trillion in terms of value.

“The initiative will drive advances in biomanufacturing that substitute fragile supply chains from abroad with strong chains at home, anchored by well-paying jobs in communities all across America,” the White House stated.

The measure will seek to grow domestic biomanufacturing capacity, expand market opportunities for bio-based products, enhance research and development, and streamline regulations for biotech products.

China dominates global production of active pharmaceutical ingredients for generic drugs, a state of affairs that U.S. lawmakers have flagged as a national security risk.

–Wire services