Administration to Exempt Key Healthcare Products From Tariffs

June 22, 2018

By Josh Babb
Director of Government Affairs

On June 15th President Trump announced that the implementation of a 25% tariff on $50 billion in Chinese imports would in fact go forward. China promptly replied with their own list of 545 US farm, automobile, and seafood products. President Trump has threatened to levy additional tariffs in response, with no immediate end to the uncertainty in sight.

The United States Trade Representative (USTR) published two lists of products affected by the impending tariff, with the first containing $34 billion worth of Chinese goods and set to take effect on July 6th. The second list covers $16 billion of imports and will take effect at a later date, following a public comment period set to close July 31st.

In a win for healthcare, however, these revised lists omit more than half of the finished healthcare products as well as components of those products included in the agency’s initial proposal. Products that will not be subject to tariffs as a result of the advocacy of HIDA and its' members include adhesive dressings, artificial joints, hearing aids, defibrillators, syringes, vaccines, and catheters. The decision to remove these items comes after HIDA’s Government Affairs team testified before the USTR and HIDA members participated in more than 130 meetings with key Congressional offices, educating legislators on the complexity and intricate nature of the healthcare supply chain.

The removal of these products is a win for healthcare distributors and manufacturers alike, as well as their customers across the healthcare system. However, the Trump Administration still plans to impose tariffs on a number of items commonly used in healthcare, such as pacemakers, lithium batteries, LEDs, optical microscopes, and anesthetic instruments. While the impact of the tariffs will not be as large as initially expected, the inclusion of these items risks driving up costs for providers and, will ultimately negatively affect both patients and taxpayers.

To learn more about the tariffs, please check out our recent HIDA Government Affairs Alert.

And to learn how you can get involved in advocating for healthcare policy that supports producers, distributors, and consumers of medical devices, please contact us at