U.S. tariffs on med tech prevent patient access

July 10, 2018

A medical technology trade association has warned that the U.S. tariffs recently implemented in response to Chinese IP theft may hinder patient access to life-saving technologies.

The Medical Imaging & Technology Alliance (MITA), which represents companies operating in the medical imaging equipment field, urged President Donald Trump’s administration to consider their plea on July 6.

MITA said it has called on the U.S. government to give “special consideration” for medical imaging devices and components which are affected by the tariffs.

Last month, Trump said that the U.S. would implement a 25% tariff on $50 billion worth of goods from China that contain industrially significant technology, “in light of China’s theft of IP and technology and its other unfair trade practices”.

Tariffs on $34 billion worth of Chinese products became effective on July 6. On the same day, Trump said that U.S. tariffs could also be applied to more than $500 billion worth of Chinese goods, which is approximately the total amount of U.S. imports from China last year.

Trump said the tariff targets goods that “contain industrially significant technologies”, and are central to China’s strategic plan to “dominate the emerging high-tech industries”. As well as medical technologies, this includes automobile machinery and industrial equipment.

China retaliated with its own 25% tariff on U.S. products, including medical equipment and chemical products, which are worth approximately $50 billion.

MITA sent U.S. trade representative Robert Lighthizer a letter in May, in which it raised “significant concerns” about the impact the proposed tariffs would have on the importation of medical imaging devices.

According to the letter, medical devices are “integral to global public health” and “should be exempt from trade sanctions as a humanitarian good”.

The letter explained that a large amount of the trade impacted by the tariffs is actually inter-company trade in the manufacturing industry. For example, a manufacturer in China will send products to their manufacturing facility in the U.S., where they are “transformed” and re-exported to places including China.

“Taxing these products on both ends of the supply could serve as a disincentive to manufacture in the U.S.,” MITA said.

Following Trump’s section 301 investigation into China’s trade practices, which found China’s practices to be actionable under the Trade Act 1974, MITA undertook a survey of manufacturers in the medical imaging field.

The survey determined that subjecting medical technology products and components from China to section 301 tariffs may cost American manufacturers more than $138 million this year. X-ray devices, such as CT scanners, are expected to be the most significantly affected, the survey suggested.

According to MITA’s most recent plea, a “timely and robust exemption process” from the tariffs needs to be arranged in relation to medical imaging products and components which come from China.

LSIPR has the full article

Sponsored Recommendations

Enhancing Remote Radiology: How Zero Trust Access Revolutionizes Healthcare Connectivity

This content details how a cloud-enabled zero trust architecture ensures high performance, compliance, and scalability, overcoming the limitations of traditional VPN solutions...

Spotlight on Artificial Intelligence

Unlock the potential of AI in our latest series. Discover how AI is revolutionizing clinical decision support, improving workflow efficiency, and transforming medical documentation...

Beyond the VPN: Zero Trust Access for a Healthcare Hybrid Work Environment

This whitepaper explores how a cloud-enabled zero trust architecture ensures secure, least privileged access to applications, meeting regulatory requirements and enhancing user...

Enhancing Remote Radiology: How Zero Trust Access Revolutionizes Healthcare Connectivity

This content details how a cloud-enabled zero trust architecture ensures high performance, compliance, and scalability, overcoming the limitations of traditional VPN solutions...