The Trump Administration’s $765 Million Kodak Deal Is More Proof That ‘Economic Nationalism’ Is a Scam
The Trump administration’s latest “economic nationalism” scheme involves having taxpayers underwrite a $765 million loan to Eastman Kodak, the long-struggling camera company, in the hopes of transforming it into a pharmaceutical manufacturer.
If that sounds like a far-fetched idea, well, give some credit to the lobbyists who apparently made it happen.
The Daily Beast’s Lachlan Markay reports that Kodak restarted its shuttered D.C. lobbying team in April of this year and proceeded to spend $870,000 on influence-peddling in the months leading up to last week’s announcement by the White House. That’s twice as much as the company had ever spent in a single quarter, according to lobbying disclosures, and it appears to have paid off.
When the White House announced the massive loan to Kodak last week, Trump lauded it as a “breakthrough in bringing pharmaceutical manufacturing back to the United States.” Eastman Kodak will produce active pharmaceutical ingredients, or APIs, which are the chemical compounds used as the building blocks for many drugs. The loan to Eastman Kodak is supposed to be repaid within 25 years.
The White House is throwing all that taxpayer-backed cash at a company with no experience making pharmaceuticals as part of an overall effort to shift the global supply chains for pharmaceuticals. Some Republicans—including Peter Navarro, Trump’s top trade advisor, and lawmakers like Sen. Josh Hawley (R–Mo.)—fear that America is too dependant on imported drugs and APIs manufactured in China.
In reality, however, there is little cause for concern. The global supply chains for pharmaceuticals are diverse and resilient. And even though China’s share of the market has been growing in recent years, the United States imports far more pharmaceuticals from Ireland and other countries than it does from China. Only 13 percent of the facilities used to make APIs that go into America’s drug supply are in China, according to th
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