While an advocate for conservative polices shares in the sentiment that the U.S. should take back production of various items that are made in China, she is still in favor of some things being made overseas.
"It makes a lot of sense to maintain our critical supply chain of not just pharmaceuticals, but military equipment and the protective personal medical equipment (PPE) that we're facing shortages of across the country," thinks Rachel Bovard of the Conservative Partnership Institute. "All of those things I think need to have a domestic supply chain, whether it's in the United States or with a close, infallible ally."
U.S. companies could move manufacturing operations out of China and into other nations, but Bovard says it is important to diversify production in the event of an outbreak or natural disaster that might hamper production.
"We need to be dependent upon a number of countries, but I think most importantly, our critical supply chains -- the things that we will rely on for the survival of American citizens in a crisis -- some of that capacity needs to be housed in the United States," she submits. "What is a national government for if it cannot provide for its people in a time of crisis?"
Speaking of time, many companies cannot just pick up and move manufacturing operations quickly, though many have some kind of presence in the United States that they can either retool or repurpose.
"Building these capacities from the ground up takes years," Bovard continues. "The last penicillin plant went out of business in the United States in 2004, and we have no capacity anymore in the United States to manufacture the base ingredients of antibiotics, penicillin, of even Advil, and so some of that is going to take time."
She submits that is why "time is of the essence to start instituting these polices now instead of waiting years. Because who knows when we're going to find ourselves in another crisis?"
Another roadblock may involve price points for hard and soft goods. It is currently cheaper to manufacture products in China and other parts of Asia than it is in other regions of the world. Whether consumers are okay with paying more for products, and how much more, remains to be seen.