According to a Market Watch report on March 6, the Trump administration has waived import duties on more than 100 medical products imported from China (including masks, wipes, inspection gloves, etc.), and 27 companies have been approved.
On October 22, 2019, the official website of the Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR) announced that it would start the exclusion process for products with a tariff list of US $ 300 billion in China starting on October 31, from October 31, 2019, to On January 31, 2020, an interested party in the United States may apply for exclusion.
It is worth noting that since Trump imposed tariffs on goods from China, the process of excluding tariffs on products has often taken months. However, since the outbreak began at the end of January, the United States government has accelerated the approval of tariff exclusion requests for many medical products, and the approval time is more than one month from the deadline for submitting applications. The applications for AirPods headphones and HomePod smart speakers submitted by Apple on October 31 are still being processed.
Medline is the largest private medical supplies manufacturer and distributor in the United States. Of the 103 applications for tariff exemption for imports from China, 30 have been approved by the company, including surgical gowns, masks and medical cups. The product was applied at the end of January.
Documents from the U.S. Trade Representative’s Office show that 27 companies that received such approval on Thursday, including Medegen Medical Products, Cardinal Health, etc., have approved more than 100 products.
However, according to Medline, although some of the company’s imported goods are exempted from 7.5% tariffs, USTR has still refused their requests for exemption of some 25% tax products, including 33 other items such as surgical curtains and biohazard handling bags Waiver request.
The company said that, in general, the tariffs have caused the company more than $ 100 million in losses and have a significant impact on health care and costs.
Medegen stated in the application file submitted to USTR that the current few American manufacturers have limited production capacity and it is difficult to quickly expand and expand production to meet domestic demand. According to the required quality and safety level of the product, no country or region (except China) has such capacity. Changing manufacturers also requires longer lead times and extensive testing, certification and approval.
“The global production range of medical masks is basically limited to China, and switching to US or third country manufacturers is neither practical nor competitive”. Additional tariffs on such products will cause severe financial damage to the United States and increase costs for U.S. healthcare providers and customers. Medegen said.
Guan Jian, a lawyer of the Ministry of Commerce of the People’s Republic of China and a partner of Beijing Gaowen Law Firm, told the International Financial News reporter, “The 301 tariff imposed by the United States on China and Canada has always been subject to tariff exclusions, such as the previous exclusion of API products. Medical products such as sub-excluded masks are only a part of the results of routine product exclusion in the United States, but they also very typically reflect the harm to consumers caused by tariff increases in the United States. From a legal and economic perspective, trade is initiated through tariff increases The war has had a very negative impact on the global supply chain, and this is all wrong. “
According to the US political website Politico, the number of N95 masks required by the US medical system in a year is about 350 million, but currently the United States has only 1% of its inventory in demand. In addition, the United States has relocated most of its mask production factories to China in recent years, with more than 90% of its masks coming from China. 3M Vice President Mike Pence pointed out that the company can currently only produce 4 million FDA (US Food and Drug Administration) -certified surgical masks.
Facts have shown that it is not easy for US mask factories to expand production capacity in the short term. Prestige Ameritech is the largest surgical mask factory in the United States. Due to limited machines for sewing and styling masks, it had purchased many machines and hired 150 new workers to increase output in response to a swine flu outbreak a decade ago. The president said the new machine would take about four months to build and cost as much as $ 1 million, and when they were ready, the flu was over.
As of 8:48 am on March 7, Eastern Time, there have been 332 confirmed cases of new coronary pneumonia in the United States and 17 deaths.