MedTech trade group AdvaMed today urged the U.S. Office of the Trade Representative to reduce more tariffs for medical devices, components and supplies coming from China and needed in the fight against the coronavirus pandemic.
In early March, U.S. trade officials exempted more than 100 such medical items manufactured in China from import tariffs in an effort to fight the outbreak.
In today’s letter to USTR, AdvaMed requested tariff exclusions for more than 80 medical product types and components its member companies have identified as critical for health care providers and patients in the diagnosis, containment and treatment of the pandemic, including infection control apparel, needles/syringes, ventilator components, dialysis machines and diagnostic testing supplies.
The association also asked USTR to extend for at least 1 year after the World Health Organization declares the pandemic over any current or future medtech tariff exclusions to ensure supplies are available once the COVID-19 crisis has passed.
“When foreign suppliers have a choice of where to ship, the cost of sending such products to U.S. patients should be competitive with other countries that do not impose Section 301 tariffs. Inventories will need time to rebuild after COVID-19 has ended,” the trade group said in its letter.
Finally, AdvaMed asked USTR to suspend Most Favored Nation tariffs for the group of products identified as well, stressing that President Donald Trump’s declaration of a COVID-19 emergency met the conditions for suspension under the Tariff Act.
“We’re grateful that the administration made the positive decision last month to lift tariffs on some crucial medical equipment coming from China, including face masks, examination gloves and surgical drapes,” said AdvaMed President and CEO Scott Whitaker in a news release. “We appreciate USTR’s willingness to consider additional tariff relief, which will help encourage further imports from China of other mission-critical products, parts and components as together we continue to battle COVID-19.”