News | Radiology Business | June 15, 2018 | Jeff Zagoudis, Associate Editor

New U.S. Tariffs on Chinese Goods Include Imaging Equipment

MRI, CT, X-ray and ultrasound apparatus and accessories will be subject to 25 percent penalties beginning July 6; medical imaging societies warn tariffs will hurt their markets

New U.S. Tariffs on Chinese Goods Include Imaging Equipment

June 15, 2018 — The Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) released the much-anticipated list of Chinese-manufactured goods that will be subjected to 25 percent tariffs, and medical imaging equipment systems and parts feature prominently on the list.

Several modalities will be impacted by the tariffs, which will be collected beginning July 6, including X-ray, computed tomography (CT), magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and ultrasound. The full list includes the “apparatus,” parts and accessories for each modality, as well as radiation generator units and radiation beam delivery units. The USTR list also includes apparatus based on the use of alpha, beta or gamma radiations for medical, surgical, dental or veterinary use, and the parts and accessories thereof.

The inclusion of medical imaging equipment on the tariff list was anticipated by medical imaging technology societies in the U.S., which have been working with Congress to have these key pieces of equipment from their market excluded from the final penalties. The Medical Imaging and Technology Alliance (MITA) released a statement in late May praising the Congressional authors of a bipartisan letter urging the U.S. Trade Representative, Robert Lighthizer, to exempt almost $3 billion worth of medical products from the tariffs.

According to the letter, the Chinese market for medical technology represents a significant growth opportunity for U.S. manufacturers, valued at over $25 billion. China reportedly imports about 70 percent of its medical devices, and the letter states that the U.S. owns a 33 percent share of those imports. “With its growing economy and middle class, rapidly aging population, and increased demand for medical technology, China will continue to be an attractive market for U.S. manufacturers,” the letter reads. “With that in mind, we are concerned that inclusion of medical devices on any final Section 301 tariff list could lead to retaliation that would jeopardize these opportunities.”

“This bipartisan initiative to exempt medical devices from proposed tariffs, which is supported by 40 members of Congress, demonstrates Congressional recognition of the enormous economic and health value of medical devices, including imaging technologies,” said Patrick Hope, executive director of MITA. “We thank Congressmen Paulsen and Peters for leading this effort and for advocating on behalf of their constituents and our employees and the patients they serve.”

Read the full Congressional letter here.

The National Electrical Manufacturers Association (NEMA), the parent organization of MITA, has also voiced opposition to the tariffs on radiological equipment. NEMA Vice President of Government Affairs Kyle Pitsor testified to the USTR in mid-May that such impositions would represent a tax increase on U.S. manufacturers and their industrial, commercial and residential customers valued at about $2.25 billion.

Read the full USTR release here.

For more information: www.ustr.gov

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