USA: Janet Yellen intensifies the fight against fentanyl

HomepoliticsUSA: Janet Yellen intensifies the fight against fentanyl

Kenya Nicol

Janet Yellen, the U.S. Treasury Secretary, is working to strengthen the fight against fentanyl during her visit to Mexico. This powerful synthetic opioid has caused tens of thousands of overdoses in the United States. Janet Yellen hopes to reach an agreement with Mexican leaders to curb this scourge.

The United States and Mexico join forces against fentanyl

U.S. President Joe Biden and Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador have committed to combating the crisis. “We are meeting with various entities in Mexico that provide us with information,” says Janet Yellen at the beginning of her three-day visit.

The United States is expected to announce new measures to combat fentanyl, according to the U.S. Treasury Secretary. Several organizations are proving “increasingly useful” in tracking the financial flows related to this drug, which is manufactured from chemical precursors from China, according to the United States.

Fentanyl, a rapidly growing menace

In New York, over 80% of drug users consume fentanyl (an opioid). First synthesized in Belgium in the 1950s as a potent painkiller, one hundred times stronger than morphine, it has become a substance used by over 80% of drug users in New York within a few years.

However, only 18% use it voluntarily, according to a study highlighting the dangers of addiction to this product. Nevertheless, the United States has witnessed a dramatic increase in fatal overdoses in the country. For years, fentanyl has flooded the American market. Manufactured in laboratories, cheaper than heroin, the drug caused around 70,000 overdose deaths out of a total of 106,000 in the United States in 2022, an unprecedented level.

Sanctions against a chinese network

A Chinese network is accused of participating in the production of fentanyl. The United States imposed sanctions against the network in October 2023.

In November 2023, China agreed to take “a number of significant measures to substantially reduce supplies,” according to a senior U.S. official. These measures followed a summit between U.S. President Joe Biden and his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping.

Economic and geopolitical tensions with China

The U.S. Treasury Secretary met with Victoria Rodriguez, the governor of the Central Bank. Janet Yellen will also meet with leaders of financial institutions and members of the Mexican Bankers Association to discuss illegal finance.

The United States aims to locate its production chains with trusted partners to establish greater stability amid economic and geopolitical tensions with China. Janet Yellen will also meet with Mexican business leaders.

Benefits of “nearshoring” on the national economy

Local experts believe that the closer ties particularly benefit Mexico. For over a year, the country has been reaping the benefits of “nearshoring” on the national economy. “Nearshoring” refers to the proximity of production of goods to the markets where they are consumed.

In this context, Janet Yellen is set to meet with President Andrés Manuel López Obrador, as well as Rogelio Ramírez de la O., the Minister of Finance.

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