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China pans US sanctions on painkiller firms

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US President Joe Biden signed an executive order that makes it easier for the US to target foreign drug traffickers. AFP

China pans US sanctions on painkiller firms

Beijing hit out at the US on December 16 for its decision to impose sanctions on Chinese painkiller makers as Washington tries to curb an addiction epidemic that killed a record 100,000 US citizens last year.

As people dealing with addiction increasingly turn to cheaper pills bought online from abroad, President Joe Biden signed an executive order on December 15 that makes it easier for the US to target foreign drug traffickers.

The actions “will help disrupt the global supply chain and the financial networks that enable synthetic opioids and precursor chemicals to reach the United States”, Secretary of State Antony Blinken said in a statement.

China said it “resolutely opposes” the move.

“These kinds of erroneous acts, in which one side is sick but forces the other to take the medicine, is not constructive,” foreign ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin told reporters.

US law enforcement says China remains a major source of both fentanyl and chemicals used to make both the powerful opioid, as well as other synthetic drugs.

Beijing insists it has taken measures to control fentanyl production and precursors. Under heavy pressure from the US, China decreed a ban on the opioid in April 2019.

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