(MENAFN- Asia Times) Twenty-five companies and individuals in China have been newly sanctioned by the US Treasury Department, which accuses them of trafficking precursor chemicals of fentanyl, a super painkiller, into America.
The fentanyl crisis has been a major dispute in Sino-US relations since the Trump administration raised the issue to the Chinese government in 2019. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there were 56,516 deaths in 2021 involving synthetic opioids other than methadone – the category that applies primarily to fenatyl.
Those newly sanctioned on Tuesday include 12 entities and 13 individuals in China. Apart from them, two entities and one individual based in Canada were also sanctioned.
It's not the first time that Chinese entities were sanctioned due to the fentanyl-related shipments. In May, seven firms and six people in China were blacklisted by the US Treasury Department's Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC).
“We know that behind the deaths of hundreds of thousands of Americans is a cartel-driven fentanyl-trafficking network that spans countries and continents,” US Attorney General Merrick Garland said Tuesday.
“We know that this network includes the cartels' leaders, their drug traffickers, their money launderers, their clandestine lab operators, their security forces, their weapons suppliers, and their chemical suppliers,” Garland said.“And we know that this global fentanyl supply chain, which ends with the deaths of Americans, often starts with chemical companies in China.”
Liu Yupeng, a spokesperson of the Chinese Embassy to the US, said China strongly condemned the United States' move to brazenly sanction Chinese individuals and entities. He said the Chinese government takes a firm stance on counter-narcotics.
When US State Secretary Antony Blinken visited Beijing in June, the Chinese side agreed to set up a working group to tackle the fentanyl crisis in the US. However, progress in forming the group has remained slow.
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