Hospital association urges US to extend medical supply tariff exemptions

The American Hospital Association has urged U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai to extend tariff exemptions on medical supplies imported from China, arguing the tariff exemption is necessary to "ensure hospitals and health systems have the supplies they need so they can continue to provide safe and effective care to all patients." 

In a Sept. 24 letter, the hospital association said Section 301 tariff exemptions that are set to expire Sept. 30 include critical supplies such as gloves, gowns, face masks and more. Tariff exemptions put in place during the COVID-19 pandemic have been critical to ensuring hospitals and health systems have adequate supplies of such medical products.

The tariff exemption was previously renewed March 31, and the reasons for the extension are "still very much present today," the hospital association wrote. 

The association said several recent developments have or likely will increase the strain on the current U.S. medical supply chain, including the surge of COVID-19 infections driven by the delta variant that has left some hospitals and health systems overwhelmed, as well as increased demand for supplies such as face masks as schools reopen and mask mandates are put in place. 

"While the AHA continues to support efforts to increase the near and on-shoring of medical supply manufacturing, we must recognize that those efforts are relatively new and are still ramping up to meet existing demand," the hospital association wrote. "A failure to renew the current section 301 tariff exemptions has the potential to create an over-reliance on those new manufacturing streams, which could unintentionally cripple the progress they have made"

Read the full letter here

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