Xi – Biden summit: Fentanyl, the drug that poisons relations between the two powers – L’Express

Xi Biden summit Fentanyl the drug that poisons relations

The meeting was carefully prepared for months. Each topic on the discussion table carefully chosen. This is only the second time that Joe Biden and Xi Jinping have met with their leadership hats on. Four hours of discussions this Wednesday, November 15, during the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit in San Francisco. If geopolitics will obviously be at the heart of the debates, trade questions will also be on the menu while the climate between China and the United States is frosty. In recent years, a succession of customs battles, sanctions and counter-sanctions and blacklists of companies and personalities have rotted relations between the two countries. Tech and in particular the semiconductor sector has been at the center of this trade and economic war. But in recent months, another subject has emerged: Fentanyl, this powerful synthetic drug, very inexpensive and very addictive, which is wreaking havoc in American cities. Last year alone, of the 110,000 overdose victims in the United States, nearly two-thirds were caused by Fentanyl. This massacre was invited into the race for the White House while Joe Biden promised to attack the entire production chain of these little colorful pills.

The relationship with China? All of the molecules used to manufacture this synthetic drug are manufactured in China. Already in 2020, in a now declassified report, the powerful DEA – Drug Inforcement Administration – detailed in minute detail the supply and manufacturing channels of fentanyl. The Mexican drug traffickers who dominate the market “source” in China through opaque circuits where payments are made in cryptocurrencies, then manufacture the pills in clandestine laboratories in Mexico, notably in the region of Sinaloa and Jalisco and then flood the American market. A trade even more profitable than that of heroin: according to data from the American justice system, a kilo of Chinese active ingredients costs around 800 dollars and makes it possible to manufacture nearly 415,000 pills. Which are sold on American streets for almost 3 dollars each…

For months, the American Administration has been trying to convince Beijing to limit deliveries of the famous molecules. Last August, during her visit to China, Gina Raimondo, the American Secretary of Commerce, raised her voice. During the summer, 8 Chinese companies which attempted to export liters of these chemical precursors to the United States were caught by American justice. And in early October, 28 Chinese people and companies directly involved in the fentanyl trade were placed on the US Treasury blacklist and therefore subject to economic sanctions. According to information from Bloomberg relayed by the Financial Times, Beijing could make a gesture during the meeting between the two leaders. The evil tongues point out that China has everything to gain from weakening American society. A new facet of the Sino-American conflict.