Tariffs imposed by President Donald Trump on $34 billion of Chinese goods, including a slew of medical devices, went into effect on Friday. China immediately retaliated, kicking off tariffs of equal size for American goods.
Trump said this week that his administration will implement tariffs for another $16 billion worth of Chinese goods in the coming weeks. He’s also reportedly considering additional tariffs on $500 billion worth of products, according to CNBC.
The China-made medical devices on the list of products affected by new U.S. tariffs include pacemakers, X-ray generators, anesthetic devices and optical instruments, CNN reported.
All told, the levies imposed by the Trump administration could take a $5 billion bite out of the U.S. medtech industry, according to AdvaMed public affairs EVP Greg Crist.
Industry representatives lobbied against the move, arguing that the tariffs could damage their companies’ ability to compete. Executives from GE Healthcare reportedly asked the Trump administration to remove certain components made in China from the list of products slated to take a hit from the tariffs.
“GE’s requests for adjustments to the proposed tariff list have been limited … to those products that should be removed because tariffs would impose significant and disproportionate costs on U.S. business, workers and consumers without advancing — or potentially even undermining — the President’s goals,” GE wrote to the US Trade Representative, according to the BBJ.
Beyond the medical technology industry, there is the looming concern that the relationship between the U.S. and China economies has devolved into an escalating ‘tit-for-tat.’
“We’ll probably see escalation upon escalation. China has made it absolutely clear,” Australia’s former ambassador to China, Geoff Raby, told CNBC.
In a statement, China’s Ministry of Commerce declared that the U.S. has “violated [World Trade Organization] rules and launched the largest trade war in economic history to date.”