Healthcare products, such as gloves and gowns, are essential to battling the ongoing public health crisis and should be exempt from Section 301 tariffs, the American Health Care Association / National Center for Assisted Living and the Health Industry Distributors Association wrote in a joint letter Monday to the U.S. trade representative.
The organizations asked for an indefinite extension of current healthcare product exclusions from tariffs. The tariff exclusions were set to expire Thursday.
“Healthcare distributors are working around the clock to source reliable, affordable products to meet increased demand for the lifesaving personal protective equipment (PPE) frontline healthcare workers are using to combat COVID-19,” AHCA/NCAL President and CEO Mark Parkinson and HIDA President and CEO Matthew J. Rowan wrote. “Simultaneously, the healthcare supply chain is ramping up for flu season. These compounding events add pressure to an already strained medical supply chain.”
AHCA/NCAL and HIDA also recommended that the trade representative consider lifting tariffs on chassis, the trailers that transport shipping containers, as “significant transportation delays are hampering the supply chain’s ability to support healthcare providers responding to COVID-19.”
“Transportation disruptions have become a healthcare issue. The medical supply chain relies on predictable transport to communicate product availability and delivery to providers,” Parkinson and Rowan wrote. “The nation’s transportation disruptions have severely limited reliable and timely movement of medical products.”