In imposing tariffs on goods from China as part of the Section 301 action, the United States determined to not impose tariffs on certain critical products such as ventilators, oxygen masks, and nubilators. In addition, over the past year, USTR granted exclusions for a large number of health-related products. Notably, the imposition of tariffs on certain Chinese imports has not resulted in an overall decline in the availability of needed medical equipment and supplies. In fact, U.S. imports in 2019 of all critical medical and pharmaceutical products were up over 20 percent since 2017, before Section 301 tariffs were imposed.
Prior to the coronavirus outbreak, USTR and the Department of Health and Human Services worked together to ensure that critical medicines and other essential medical products were not subject to additional Section 301 tariffs, including parts needed for MRI devices, combined PET/CT scanners, certain radiation therapy equipment, air purification equipment, and parts of homecare beds; sterile electrosurgical tools; digital clinical thermometers; and more.
In a notice scheduled for publication in the March 25, 2020, Federal Register the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) is requesting public comments on possible further modifications to remove duties from additional medicalcare products.