The U.S. has exempted another 18 medical devices or device components from the 25% tariffs imposed on Chinese goods by the Trump administration. The new list includes ultrasound, X-ray, MRI and infusion equipment.
The Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) said the new exclusions are retroactive to August 23, 2018, when additional tariffs went into effect on about $16 billion in imports from China, and are due to extend for another year. On July 6, 2018, tariffs on some $34 billion in imports from China went into effect, and U.S. medtech makers originally faced about $836 million in tariffs.
On July 9, 2019, the government exempted nine types of devices from the tariffs. Here’s a list of the newly exempted medical devices and device components:
- Disposable electrocardiograph (ECG) electrodes.
- Portable ultrasonic scanner consoles, each weighing less than 4 kg, presented with or without transducer.
- Digital peak flow meters suitable for use by medical professionals.
- Fingertip pulse oximeters suitable for use by medical professionals.
- Bismuth germanate crystals with set dimensional and surface finish requirements used as a detection element in positron emission tomography (PET) detectors.
- Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) patient enclosure devices, each incorporating radio frequency and gradient coils.
- Parts and accessories of capnography monitors.
- Anesthesia masks.
- Electrosurgical cautery pencils with electrical connectors.
- Printed circuit board assemblies designed for use in displaying operational performance of medical infusion equipment.
- X-ray tables.
- X-ray tube housings and parts thereof.
- Parts and accessories, of metal, for mobile X-ray apparatus.
- Printed circuit board assemblies, of a kind designed for use in X-ray apparatus.
- Tungsten shielding, containing 90% or more of tungsten, of a kind designed to be attached to the walls of the multileaf collimator of the specific radiotherapy apparatus based on the use of X-rays.
- Vertical stands specially designed to support, contain or adjust the movement of X-ray digital detectors, or the X-ray tube and collimator in complete X-ray diagnostic systems.
- Thermoplastic masks for radiation therapy, affixed to the treatment tables when used, each valued over $18 but not over $23.
Among the newly exempted devices are radiotherapy system components by Varian Medical’s (NYSE:VAR). Palo Alto, Calif.-based Varian said components sourced from China for its linear accelerators manufactured in the U.S. were granted exemption from Section 301 of the tariffs. The exemption took place on Sept. 20.
The AdvaMed medtech trade group declined to estimate the value of the newly exempt devices but said it is working with the trade representative’s office on U.S. China trade talks.
“ We will continue to work with officials in Washington and Beijing to make sure our views are known,” said Ralph Ives, EVP of global strategy and analysis. “AdvaMed strongly opposes tariffs by both sides on medical technology products that help save and improve millions of lives every day. We remain hopeful for a successful conclusion of the negotiations, which are delicate and with broad-reaching implications that our industry is watching closely on behalf of the patients we serve.”