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China-US Trade War Hits Medtech Sector

Posted 09 July 2018 | By Zachary Brennan 

China-US Trade War Hits Medtech Sector

Just after midnight Eastern time on Friday, the US imposed tariffs on $34 billion worth of imported Chinese goods, including medical devices.

Ralph Ives, device industry group AdvaMed executive vice president of global strategy and analysis, told Focus: “[Office of the United States Trade Representative] imposed additional tariffs on products imported from China as part of the U.S. response to China’s unfair trade practices. We estimate that the imposition of an additional 25% duties will impact approximately $836 million worth of medical technology entering the US from China, including related component parts and manufacturing materials.”
 
AdvaMed has been working to remove the medical technology sector from such tariffs.
 
“When USTR proposed in April to impose an additional 25 percent tariff on $50 billion worth of imports from China, it included about $2.8 billion in medtech,” Ives said. “We sought to remove medtech from the Sec 301 action due to concerns about the adverse effects on our competitiveness, as well as the potential longer-term impact on patient access to medical technology.”
 
And China, though it did implement its own tariffs as a rebuttal, did not take similar measures against the US medical technology market.
 
Ives noted: "Though China has implemented its first list of retaliatory tariffs [Friday] on $34 billion worth of U.S. exports to China, this list does not include medtech. AdvaMed strongly opposes tariffs on medical technology by both sides, and has proposed specific actions to resolve outstanding issues. We will continue to work with Washington and Beijing to convey our views on important trade-related matters.”

Not just AdvaMed is working to stop the tariffs. The Medical Imaging and Technology Alliance (MITA) on Friday also called on the Trump Administration to establish a "timely and robust exemption process for medical imaging products and components from China Section 301 tariffs."

Shaye Mandle, CEO of the Minnesota health technology trade group the Medical Alley Association, also told the Minneapolis Star-Tribune in late June that the prospect of a trade war would increase the cost of doing business in China.

According to the Star-Tribune, China is the largest buyer of medical devices and optical supplies from Minnesota, with exports up 14% to $192 million in the first three months of 2018.

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