Medical devicemakers struggle to find relief from Trump's Chinese tariffs

Medical device companies are struggling to find relief from tariffs imposed on Chinese imports by the Trump administration, according to Politico.

President Donald Trump has imposed tariffs on about $2 billion worth of medical devices, equipment and supplies made in China, such as MRIs, X-ray equipment, gloves and surgical towels. China has put retaliatory duties on almost $5 billion worth of U.S. medtech exports.

Peter Larson, the president and CEO of Klarity Medical Products in Newark, Ohio, told Politico he has paid more than $250,000 in tariff costs and his applications for relief largely have not worked.

Shortly after Trump placed an additional 25 percent tariff on $34 billion worth of Chinese goods, the U.S. Trade Representative opened a process for companies to apply for exemptions from the tariffs on any products not readily available in the U.S.

Mr. Larson reportedly asked the USTR for an exemption from the duties and had to wait a year before his request was granted, according to Politico. However, he later found the exemption only covered about 3 percent of the tariff costs, meaning he only got $8,000 back.

Mr. Larson's company makes thermoplastic head and neck masks and other devices used to hold patients in place for procedures like radiation therapy. Since no domestic manufacturers can make the thermoplastic devices, Klarity has been forced to absorb the costs of the tariffs and put off plans to hire additional workers, Mr. Larson told Politico.

Biotricity, a medical device company based in Redwood City, Calif., that makes wearable patient monitoring equipment faces $100,000 in tariff costs because the USTR's exclusion request website was so confusing and difficult that the company's CEO Waqaas Al-Siddiq, PhD, couldn't finish the application in time, Politico reported.

"It certainly doesn't help in our mission, which is to reduce healthcare costs," Dr. Al-Siddiq told Politico.

Read the full article here.

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