Home>Articles>Why Did Gov. Gavin Newsom Make Hurried $1 Billion Deal With China’s BYD for Masks?

Governor Gavin Newsom. (Photo: Kevin Sanders for California Globe)

Why Did Gov. Gavin Newsom Make Hurried $1 Billion Deal With China’s BYD for Masks?

California relaxed its standards, noting KN95 masks ‘may be an acceptable alternative’ due to the supply shortage

By Katy Grimes, April 13, 2020 2:11 am

There are many questions surrounding the government reaction to the COVID-19 virus, and especially in California, where Gov. Gavin Newsom just approved spending $1 Billion of taxpayers funds on masks from Chinese company BYD.

Following many requests from healthcare workers who report shortages of masks, gowns, and other personal protective equipment at hospitals throughout the country, the first company the Food and Drug Administration approved for this emergency delivery of respirator masks during the coronavirus outbreak, has actually been prohibited by law from bidding for some federal contracts in the United States, according to Vice News.

A doctor in a protective suit sees a patient in a Wuhan hospital. (Photo: Wikipedia)

“Although the company, BYD, is a major global player in the electric vehicle and lithium battery markets, it also has glaring red flags on its record, experts warn, including a history of supplying allegedly faulty products to the U.S., ties to the Chinese military and Communist Party, and possible links to forced labor.”

“BYD also has no history of making personal protective equipment, and yet days after the FDA approval, it secured a $1 billion deal to supply masks to California,” Vice reported.

Despite that Coronavirus numbers are dropping in California, Gov. Gavin Newsom made deals last week to purchase $1 Billion worth of masks from BYD, “to combat a growing need for masks in California and to secure them before other states and countries sign similar deals,” California Globe reported. California has only received 1 million N95 masks from the U.S. Government, despite over 41 million N95 having been used in California so far. The dwindling number of masks on the open market was also cited by Newsom as a reason for Tuesday’s deal.”

The question is “why did he make this deal?” There have been 600 coronavirus attributed deaths in California out of a population of 40 million. “The number of COVID-19 deaths have been much less than the 750 total deaths that occur every day in California,” Epidemiologists James Enstrom and Jeffrey Klausner said in an Orange County Register article Sunday. “Furthermore, there is evidence that there have been substantial reductions in the deaths due to seasonal flu, pneumonia and accidents because of the almost exclusive focus on COVID-19 and the current statewide lockdown.”

“We’ve been competing against other states, against other nations, against our own federal government for PPE — coveralls, masks, shields, N95 masks — and we’re not waiting around any longer. And we’re no longer interested in the progress that we were seeing in the past,” said Gov. Newsom in an MSNBC interview. “In the last 48 hours we have secured — through a consortia of nonprofits and a manufacturer here in the state of California — upwards of 200 million masks on a monthly basis that we’re confident we can supply the needs of the state of California, potentially the needs of other western states.”

Governor Gavin Newsom. (Photo: Kevin Sanders for California Globe)

Is Newsom going to broker the masks to other states? Why does California need 200 million masks a month, especially with the illness trends dropping?

However, a serious issue is California lawmakers have not only not seen details of the $1 Billion contracts signed by Gov. Newsom with BYD, they sent him a letter late last week demanding details of the agreement, saying there has been too little transparency in spending those massive taxpayer dollars.

Sen. Holly Mitchell (D-Los Angeles), chairwoman of the Senate Budget Committee, sent the tersely worded letter to Newsom’s Director of Finance. Mitchell asked for details on the contract Newsom signed to buy 200 million masks per month through an American subsidiary of the Chinese company, KTLA reported.

“Newsom said ‘the vast majority’ of the masks will be of the N95 variety, but it’s unclear whether BYD will supply that type of respirator, or its own KN95s,” Vice reported. “Soon after the FDA cleared the way for imports of KN95s, California also relaxed its standards, noting KN95 masks ‘may be an acceptable alternative’ due to the supply shortage, the state’s Department of Health records show.”

Why did California relaxed its standards of the masks?

There are many red flags with BYD’s multiple levels of owners and ownership registries, and the company’s subsidiaries that should make policy makers and consumers concerned.

Vice reported that Rep. John Garamendi (D-CA) helped draft legislation last year which bans federal funds from being used to buy BYD electric buses effective immediately in Washington, D.C., and starting in 2022 for the rest of the country. “President Donald Trump signed the ban into law in December as part of a defense authorization bill. However, Garamendi wasn’t aware BYD had been granted special FDA approval to import masks until VICE News told him.”

There have been many lawsuits against BYD by other U.S. states, Vice reported, as well as human rights violations. At a time when China is under the microscope for allowing the spread of the Wuhan flu, the FDA authorizing BYD’s sale of masks appears questionable given that the FDA didn’t vet the BYD companies,  as well as knowing they have turned a blind eye to human rights violations.

Notably, Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway bought 25% of the automaker’s Hong Kong-traded stock in 2008, and Buffett remains a major player in the company, Vice reported.

There are more questions than answers at this point, with a legislative hearing coming this Thursday. California Globe will follow up.

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37 thoughts on “Why Did Gov. Gavin Newsom Make Hurried $1 Billion Deal With China’s BYD for Masks?

  1. I’m glad someone is trying to keep comrade Newsome honest.
    The way I see it, he is free to act like a dictator and spend wildly because he can blame it…and every woe of the state, on the virus.
    I’m sure this is going to happen, but please Governor Newsome…the citizens of California are begging you, don’t use the virus as an excuse to bail out our state and local governments that have mismanaged finances for decades.

    1. He is also trying to get a one TRILLION $$ collateral loan from a Chinese bank. China has had their eye on port of L.A., makes you wonder what Newsom is putting up for collateral.

  2. What Newsom did here doesn’t make any sense. What exactly IS he up to? We need to know.

    By the way, is BYD the company that made the electric buses that cost L.A. a FORTUNE ($$millions and millions$$) which now sit idle in a city-owned yard because they kept catching on fire and thus couldn’t be safely driven? Will have to look that up…

    Also worth noting, I thought, is that Newsom’s weird purchase of masks from China coincided with antibody tests being conducted in the Bay Area and L.A. County. Such tests will determine, among other things, if huge numbers of Californians have already achieved herd immunity from CV19 from some 8,000 travelers from China (Wuhan too) arriving daily in West Coast cities in the last several months of 2019. To find already-existing herd immunity in California would be to put into question many of the directives the politicians and bureaucrats have been issuing and patting themselves on the back about since early March; e.g., lockdowns, distancing, masks, etc.

    1. I wonder how much of that ungodly amount of taxpayer money trickles into Newsomes pockets? This guy is a loose, although impotent cannon who needs to give a detailed account of his shady dealings. The people of California really have brought these kind of fiascos on themselves by voting in pieces of shit like this idiot in the first place.

    2. Spot on! All that needs to be addressed we are holding these politicians accountable no weaseling out of this one.

    1. It goes to show you, a big outfit like CalPers, pulling some of their good investments out of the small arms market. Hoes to show you, that they’re thinking like a Communist. Ban guns

  3. Domestic automakers Zhejiang Geely Holding Group, Great Wall Motor, and the Warren Buffett-backed BYD saw sales decreases of 43 percent, 47 percent, and 48 percent, respectively. (Epoch Times) Note Warren Buffett backed BYD connection. Sales of Chinese Car sales has fallen 43% since COVID-19

  4. First thing is follow the money. I billion dollars is One Billion, somebody made money. Find out who and where. Difference of opinion will always be there, but profit??

    1. Yes I agree. Follow the money trail. BYD is connected to Warren Buffet. BYD builds cars in China. China cars sales are down in general over 40% since covid-19. BYD sales are down 48%. Calpers has large investments in China non-military and military industry. Katy Grimes please look into this.

    1. Sure does say California in there hmmm? What’s going on Governor we need to know? Thank you for that James.

  5. Look at Newsom cracking under pressure and making bad deals for the state. Yeah he’s really looking out for California businesses and workers giving a huge contract to a Chinese company. Unbelievable! Newsom is far from being the problem solver he wants people to believe he is. Who votes for this weasel? How about people who want or need to be taken care of and are lazy too all the while hating on this country talking smack. And those screaming the loudest and wanting the most are almost always the ones who have done the very least for this country. Most haven’t given one day of service. Not one! Shameful!

  6. so, he bought, masks made by 3m in the usa and shipped to china, from china, on a markup

    hey newsome, want to buy a train?

  7. Why didn’t Governor Newsome purchase masks from Moldex (a California based company)? He could have kept that billion dollars in California instead of handing it over to the Chinese Communist Party. Traitor!

    1. what Traitor newsome; you should have that job to Californians instead; giving a billion to a chinese; you are garbage newsome

  8. What’s to tell, the manufacturers get $400 million and Newscum gets $600 million. But it’s not as if he gets to keep the entire $600 million, he has to pay a finder’s fee to Dianne Feinstein for setting up the deal with her Chinese contacts, and he has to pay an override commission to his aunt Nancy Pelosi. (You didn’t know she is his aunt, did you?) Oh yeah, California politics is corrupt.

  9. Newscum is dumber than he looks. CCP has screwed us for so long including buying up as much PPE as possible and intended to leave us with nothing. Now, making a $1 billion deal with a Chinese company which products are known to be substandard, and they might as well infect us with tainted or defected masks. Look at the European countries buying Chinese products. This much money should have given to American company to help the economy and get people back to work. He made Trump looks a lot smarter. He is not disclosing the deal because $200 millions in buying masks, $800 millions in consultants fee.

  10. On Alibaba.com an N95 mask sells for around $1.50. There’s 40 million people in California including babies and small children. That’s 666,666,666 over 600 million facemasks for approximately 1.5 million healthcare workers. Looks awful fishy.

  11. Great reporting not much news on this. Is there a follow up to the legislative hearing that was supposed to take place on April 23rd? I haven’t heard anything about this.

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