In a significant move, U.S. President Joe Biden and Chinese President Xi Jinping are set to announce a groundbreaking agreement aimed at curbing the export of chemicals used to make fentanyl, according to Bloomberg. The two leaders, meeting for the first time in a year, are expected to discuss the critical issue during their talks in San Francisco.
Fentanyl has emerged as a focal point in political discussions, drawing attention from both Republican presidential candidates and President Biden as the United States grapples with its most severe drug epidemic in history. According to the latest data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 112,000 Americans have died from fentanyl poisonings and drug overdoses in the latest 12 month reporting period. The Drug Enforcement Administration has identified Mexico and China as primary sources of fentanyl and related substances trafficked directly into the U.S.
Reports from Bloomberg indicate that the new deal will compel China to take action against companies involved in the production and export of the chemicals used in fentanyl production. In exchange, the U.S. will lift sanctions imposed on China’s Institution of Forensic Science, which has faced allegations of human rights violations and mass surveillance.
This agreement comes after the United States previously attempted various strategies to deter Chinese companies from manufacturing fentanyl precursors, including the indictment and sanctioning of 25 individuals and entities based in China.
“The fentanyl crisis in the United States is rooted in the country itself,” Beijing’s foreign ministry said following the sanctions. “Imposing pressure and sanctions cannot solve the United States’ own problems. It will only create obstacles in the China-US cooperation on drug control.”
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