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Medical Practice Laws Kendall Law Firm
By: Kendall PC
May 17, 2024

Biden Administration Imposes Tariffs on Chinese Imports, Including Medical Products

The Biden administration has recently announced new tariff hikes on Chinese imports as part of efforts to address trade practices related to technology transfer, intellectual property, and innovation. These tariffs, implemented under Section 301 of the Trade Act of 1974, are specifically targeting strategic sectors, including medical products. While media attention has primarily focused on preventing China from dominating the U.S. market for green technologies, such as electric vehicles and solar panels, medical products are also affected.

     The tariff increases for medical products range from 7.5% to 50% and will be phased in over the next few years. Syringes and needles, as well as certain personal protective equipment like respirators and face masks, are among the products facing significant tariff hikes. The White House emphasized that these measures aim to support domestic manufacturing of medical products to ensure a stable supply of essential medical supplies during the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond.

     U.S. Trade Representative Ambassador Katherine Tai highlighted the administration’s commitment to protecting American workers and businesses from unfair trade practices by China. The tariffs are part of a response to China’s market-distorting practices and aim to create a level playing field for American industries. The federal government conducted a review of China’s technology transfer practices and found that the country continues to engage in unfair trade practices.

     The increased tariffs are expected to cover approximately $18B of trade and will also include exclusions for certain production machinery to support solar and clean energy manufacturers. The Office of the U.S. Trade Representative will provide detailed information on the tariff lines, rates, and timing for the proposed increases and machinery exclusions in the coming weeks.

     The decision to impose tariffs on medical products is based on concerns over technology transfer practices in China. The USTR report highlighted the pressure on foreign companies to form partnerships with local Chinese companies, potentially risking intellectual property. China’s “Made in China 2025” initiative specifically targets industries like medical equipment, creating challenges for foreign companies.

     While the tariffs aim to protect American industries, there are concerns about the impact on businesses and access to medical supplies. The administration acknowledges the importance of domestic manufacturing but recognizes the challenges posed by competition from underpriced Chinese products. The tariffs also come in the wake of FDA warnings related to quality issues with medical devices manufactured in China.

     Overall, the tariffs on medical products are part of a broader effort to address trade imbalances and protect American industries from unfair practices. The administration’s goal is to support domestic manufacturing and ensure a stable supply of essential medical supplies in the face of global competition.


For more information about Kendall PC’s life sciences practice, contact us at 484-414-4093 or  Our distinguished firm proudly serves small, midsized, and emerging medical device manufacturers and medical supply companies, including medical device and supply distributors.  

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