New Delhi: A day after US President Joe Biden said Washington is “determined” to help India to tackle the Covid-19 crisis, Tim Manning, the White House’s Covid-19 Supply Coordinator Monday said the US has diverted pending orders to support India’s vaccine manufacturing.
In a long Twitter thread, Manning, who monitors global supply chains for the Biden administration, also explained how the Defense Production Act of 1950, or DPA works, under which American firms can prioritise their government contracts but not impose a ban on export of raw materials.
Hi Twitter, I’m Tim Manning, the White House COVID-19 Supply Coordinator. There’s been a lot of confusion around the use of the Defense Production Act as it relates to the global supply chain for COVID-19 treatment. Let me try and break this down simply as possible: 1/8
— Tim Manning (@timmy315) April 26, 2021
“Now here’s what we did yesterday: we diverted our pending orders of vaccine filters to India’s vaccine manufacturing effort. This will help India make more vaccine. And it’s only one effort among many to help the their COVID19 response (e.g. therapeutics, PPE, and oxygen) (sic),” Manning said.
DPA has become a major cause of concern for India because it is under this Act that Washington effectively slowed down the raw material shipments for Indian vaccine manufacturers.
On this issue, Manning said, “DPA doesn’t even mean a “de facto” ban. Companies are able to export. In fact, companies that supply our vaccine manufacturing export their product all across the world. We are just one “client” of the raw material companies.”
He added, “It also doesn’t create the shortages – there is just more global manufacturing happening everywhere than the suppliers can support.”
Manning also said, “To make vaccine here in the US we have used the DPA to ensure we have access to all needed supplies with many US companies. DPA in these cases just means U.S. companies must prioritize their government contracts ahead of other orders, it doesn’t mean an export ban.”
How US moved to aid India
President Joe Biden has come under considerable pressure to consider exception for India under the DPA as the country is reeling under a massive Covid-19 wave with record number of deaths even as it faces shortage of medical supplies, oxygen cylinders and other items to fight the pandemic.
On Sunday, Biden said, “Just as India sent assistance to the United States as our hospitals were strained early in the pandemic, we are determined to help India in its time of need.”
Just as India sent assistance to the United States as our hospitals were strained early in the pandemic, we are determined to help India in its time of need. https://t.co/SzWRj0eP3y
— President Biden (@POTUS) April 25, 2021
The US has also promised to help India with supplies of therapeutics, rapid diagnostic test kits, ventilators, and personal protective equipment (PPE) that will immediately be made available for India, the White House said in a statement.
This came after National Security Advisor Ajit Doval held a phone call with his American counterpart Jake Sullivan Sunday.
In a statement issued after the call, National Security Council spokesperson Emily Horne said: “The United States has identified sources of specific raw material urgently required for Indian manufacture of the Covishield vaccine that will immediately be made available for India.”
On Monday, Linda Thomas-Greenfield, US Ambassador to the UN, said in a tweet, “We are doing everything we can to help with the heartbreaking COVID-19 situation in India, including deploying vaccine materials, therapeutics, ventilators, public health teams, and financial support. We will work around the clock to help alleviate the suffering.”
We are doing everything we can to help with the heartbreaking COVID-19 situation in India, including deploying vaccine materials, therapeutics, ventilators, public health teams, and financial support. We will work around the clock to help alleviate the suffering.
— Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield (@USAmbUN) April 26, 2021