Medical device makers 'shocked and disappointed' by Trump's proposed $50B tariffs — 5 insights

Last month, President Donald Trump announced plans to impose a 25 percent tariff on about $50 billion worth of goods imported from China. With the final list of affected imports set to be announced by June 15, U.S. medical device industry representatives are holding their breath, Medical Design and Outsourcing reports.

Here's what you should know:

1. Medical device and technology products make up $5 billion of the imported goods facing tariffs. Many of them are made by U.S. companies, Greg Crist, executive VP of public affairs at trade group AdvaMed, told Medical Design and Outsourcing.

2. A White House statement released May 29 cites a U.S. Trade Representative report about potentially unfair Chinese trade practices. As the report doesn't mention medical technology, industry officials are "surprised and disappointed" by the potential tariffs on medical devices, Mr. Crist told Medical Design and Outsourcing

3. About 1,300 products are included on the proposed list of tariffs. Thirty medical devices — including needles, catheters, defibrillators, X-rays, patient monitoring systems and respiration devices — are included.

4. Forty lawmakers are seeking to prevent the administration from imposing tariffs on medical devices.

5. Congressmen Erik Paulsen,Minn.-03, and Scott Peters,Calif.-52, asked for medical technology products to be taken off the list in a letter to U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer. They said U.S. medical technology exports to the world totaled approximately $52.5 billion in 2017 while imports amounted to $51.4 billion, resulting in a surplus of $1.1 billion.

"Imposing tariffs on medical technology products from China also ignores the nearly balanced trade relationship between U.S. and China in medical technology products," the Congressmen wrote. "The U.S. trade deficit with China in medical technology products is negligible and shrinking yearly to under $400,000,000 in 2017 ($4.7 billion exports/$5 billion imports). In fact, we understand that the U.S. currently has a surplus with China for the medical device products included on the Section 301 proposed tariff list."

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