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USTR invites public comments to identify additional products for coronavirus response

March 24th, 2020 / By: / COVID-19, News

Throughout the process of administering its Section 301 action to combat China’s acts, policies and practices related to technology transfer, intellectual property and innovation, the United States has prioritized health considerations and is taking additional action. 

In imposing tariffs on goods from China as part of the Section 301 action, the United States determined not to impose tariffs on certain critical products such as ventilators, oxygen masks and nubilators. In addition, over the past year, USTR has granted exclusions for a large number of health-related products. 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 more than 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 other products.

On March 23, to keep current on developments in the national fight against the coronavirus pandemic, USTR has opened a docket for members of the public, businesses and government agencies to submit comments if they believe further modifications to the 301 tariffs may be necessary. (This comment process supplements but does not replace the current exclusion process.) Submissions are limited to comments on products subject to the tariff actions and relevant to the medical response to the coronavirus.

Interested parties wishing to provide comments may visit: https://www.regulations.gov/docket?D=USTR-2020-0014