Despite recent U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) decisions to exempt products from tariffs on China, the medical device industry worries about the ongoing impact of Donald Trump’s trade war with China. So far, the medical device industry either absorbed the costs or passed them along to customers. However, small medical companies are the first to feel the “pain” of Trump’s tariffs, since they cannot afford to do so. 

Trump’s “tariffs war”: U.S. medical device industry still threatened, despite recent exemptions

No sooner the “tariffs war” started to escalate, the USTR initiated the process that allowed companies to apply for an exemption from duties on any products not readily available on the United States market. As far as the U.S. medical device industry is concerned, much of the impact of President Trump’s tariffs has been placed on component parts made in China employed in the production of Medical Devices.

Mid-September 2019, the USTR unveiled that medtech-related products were on two out of the three lists of products exempted from tariffs on China. Among the exempted products we cite: anesthesia masks, certain component parts used to make magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and X-ray equipment. However, the exemptions in many cases do not match the expectations.

Early October 2019, Trump announced the United States and China were close to completing a “phase one” trade agreement. Nonetheless, until a final more comprehensive deal is reached, tariffs that Trump has already imposed on over $350 billion worth of Chinese goods will remain in place.

Published on October 30, 2019