Weak cooperation between U.S. and Chinese authorities is hindering efforts to curb increasingly sophisticated forms of fentanyl trafficking, according to a U.S. congressional advisory report reviewed by Reuters.
The report by the U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission, due to be published on Tuesday, said U.S. authorities have found that cooperation with Chinese counterparts “remains limited on the ground”.
An explosion in the use of fentanyl, a synthetic opioid 50 times more potent than heroin, and its analogues has driven the most devastating chapter of America’s long-running opioid and drug abuse crises.
Combating fentanyl smuggling has become a key priority for U.S. agencies as overdose deaths spiked to more than 93,000 in 2020, mostly linked to fentanyl, according to provisional data by the National Center for Health Statistics.
Deaths surged by more than 21,000 to eclipse a record set a year earlier.
Despite China banning fentanyl and similar variants in 2019, the Asian nation remains the primary source of illicit fentanyl and fentanyl-related substances trafficked into the United States, the report said.
The accusations are unreasonable and unacceptable, said the Chinese foreign ministry when asked by Reuters to comment on the report.
China has strictly controlled all narcotics, psychotropic drugs and chemical precursors, and its efforts are recognised internationally, the ministry said.
Reuters, 24 August 2021