China-US Fentanyl Agreement Restarts Stalled Cooperative Fight Against Deadly Drug – By Zhang Legu (VOA News) / Nov 20, 2023
WASHINGTON — U.S. President Joe Biden and Chinese President Xi Jinping agreed earlier this week that Beijing will crack down on companies in China that produce precursor chemicals for fentanyl, an agreement that Biden said would “save lives.”
In exchange, the Biden administration agreed to lift sanctions on China’s Physical Evidence Identification Center of the Ministry of Public Security and the National Drug Laboratory. In May 2020, the U.S. Department of Commerce sanctioned the lab for allegedly participating in human rights violations against Uyghurs and other ethnic minorities in Xinjiang.
China, which is the source of most fentanyl precursors used in the U.S., argued that U.S. export controls have “severely affected” China’s inspection and testing of fentanyl-related substances and impaired its “goodwill to help the U.S. in drug control,” according to the spokesperson of the Chinese Embassy in the United States.
Although a cooperative effort to curb the supply of fentanyl brought some results over the years, enthusiasm dampened as tensions grew between China and the U.S. On Aug. 5, 2022 — after then-House Speaker Nancy Pelosi visited Taiwan, a self-governing island Beijing considers its own — China officially announced the suspension of anti-drug cooperation with the U.S.