‘National Security Risk’ — UK Dependant on Chinese Companies for ‘Disaster Relief’ Products

SHENZHEN, CHINA -SEPTEMBER 24: A worker tests parts for e-cigarettes on the production line at Kanger Tech, one of China's leading manufacturers of vaping products, on September 24, 2019 in Shenzhen, China. Global production for e-cigarette and vaping products is centered in a five-square-mile district of Shenzhen, China, which is …
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National security concerns have been raised after it was revealed that the United Kingdom is almost exclusively reliant on Communist China for tens of thousands of products, including many from the “disaster relief list” required to deal with pandemics, such as the Wuhan virus.

Despite Prime Minister Boris Johnson launching the so-called Project Defend to decrease Britain’s reliance on Beijing amid the worldwide pandemic, a report from the Independent Business Network found that the 28,000 companies in the UK are almost “entirely dependent” on Chinese firms to run their businesses.

The group found that over 50,000 types of products are exclusively being imported into Britain from China, alone, with the imports of 123 of the 183 of the products on the “disaster relief list” deemed essential to combatting the Chinese coronavirus rising in scale since the beginning of the pandemic.

The products include “vital components” of coronavirus preparedness including test kits, disinfectants, masks, personal protective equipment (PPE), and adhesive dressings, The Telegraph reported.

In January, Breitbart London reported that the government had paid companies connected to the alleged genocide in Xinjiang nearly £150 million to secure PPE during the pandemic.

The Independent Business Network report said that China has “cemented itself as the primary source of disaster relief equipment in the UK import market,” accounting for 26 per cent of the UK’s imports of disaster relief products, totalling £12.26 billion, a 7.7 per cent increase since 2019.

In the year after Prime Minister Boris Johnson first introduced coronavirus lockdown measures, 71 per cent of plastic medical gloves came from China and 72 per cent of all key chemicals used in disinfectants came from the communist nation.

John Longworth, the Independent Business Network’s chairman and a former director-general of the British Chambers of Commerce, said: “The scale of the UK’s growing trade dependence on China is frightening. What’s more, the Government’s words are hollow. Far from reducing our trade dependency, the situation is getting worse… The conclusions of this report show the Government is failing to capitalise on the opportunities Brexit has given us to fix the problem.

“China’s growing presence in British industry is not just a threat to business, it is a threat to national security. Growing monopolies on supplies for areas including biosecurity disaster relief, electronics and aerospace engineering have the potential to seriously undermine the UK’s domestic security and wider economy.”

Conservative MP and former Brexit minister David Jones said the report showed the need for the government to “take the measures at its disposal to curb our increasing dependency on Chinese goods.”

“The findings of this report lay bare the deeply unsettling rise in the UK’s economic and trade dependency on China, including our national security vulnerabilities.

“In terms of Britain’s capability to respond to events like the pandemic, we are now more dependent on China than we were before the coronavirus outbreak… a country which has previously demonstrated little restraint in taking advantage of its economic and trade influence to extend its geo-political objectives.”

The report comes after it emerged in May that China has overtaken Germany as the UK’s top importer for the first time in recorded history, with imports overall rising by 66 per cent since the start of 2018.

While the government has publicly attempted to distance itself from China, Prime Minister Boris Johnson has reportedly been working behind the scenes to secure a trade deal with the regime in Beijing, despite calls from within his own party to cut trade in light of the human rights abuses in Xinjiang and the breach of the Sino-British Joint Declaration in Hong Kong.

In February, Mr Johnson reportedly told a delegation of Chinese business leaders that he is a fervent “Sinophile” (A lover of China). The Prime Minister’s father, Stanley Johnson has been a long advocate of closer ties with the communist state and has spent significant time in the country.

Responding to the report, a government spokesman said: “UK trade with China is worth £81 billion which supports jobs and livelihoods, and although we will pursue a positive trading relationship in non-strategic areas, we will also ensure that our national security and values are protected, and that China is held to account on its international commitments.

“Through our presidency of the G7, we are calling for tougher measures against market-distorting practices and pushing for a fully-functioning dispute settlement system at the World Trade Organisation to tackle unfair subsidies in industry and agriculture.”

The report is not the first highlighting of the way the Wuhan Coronavirus has massively revealed the West’s enormous dependence on China for basic goods that underpin industrial society and modern health services. A 2020 report found that Britain was reliant on China for the supply of 71 “critical” goods including pharmaceuticals, chemicals, and electronics.

The reliance on China for medical supplies is so acute for the West, the European Union’s trade with just one Chinese region — the infamous slave-camp industrial centre of Xinjiang — doubled.

Follow Kurt Zindulka on Twitter here @KurtZindulka

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