US officials are finalizing an agreement with China to crack down on the export of the source chemicals used to make fentanyl, according to two people familiar with the matter.
The deal, which has been a priority for the Biden administration, is expected to be finalized and announced in coordination with President Joe Biden’s summit meeting in San Francisco Bay Area Wednesday with Chinese President Xi Jinping.
The agreement will target companies that produce and export the source material to make the deadly synthetic opioid, said the people, who cautioned that the deal would not be finalized until its announcement. The goal would be to significantly limit the flow of precursor materials to Mexico, the people said.
The agreement is one of several administration officials have sought to finalize with their Chinese counterparts in advance of Biden’s first meeting with Xi in a year. The visit will also mark Xi’s first visit to the US since 2017 and comes as the world powers have attempted to cool tensions that have driven concern about increased risks of dangerous escalation for much of the last year.
It could also mark an important domestic political win for Biden, whose administration has grappled with trafficking of lethal illicit drugs like fentanyl in an ongoing crisis at the southern border that has weighed down his administration.
“I won’t get too far ahead of the meeting, and I’ll let the president speak for himself after he has the chance to meet with President Xi, but we believe that there are areas where our interests overlap, like our efforts to combat the illicit fentanyl trade,” national security adviser Jake Sullivan told reporters Monday.
US officials are also seeking to re-open military communication channels, which have been all but dark in the wake of former Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan in 2022. The effort to reestablish the channels has been a focal point of tenuous US diplomatic efforts for months.
“When it comes to managing the relationship, ties and communications between our two militaries are critical,” Sullivan said in an interview Sunday with CNN’s Dana Bash on “State of the Union.” “The Chinese have basically severed those communication links. President Biden would like to reestablish them, and he will look to this summit as an opportunity try and advance the ball on that.”