GNYHA recently submitted the attached comments to the Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR) to support extending Section 301 COVID-19 tariff exclusion modifications. The tariffs would increase personal protective equipment (PPE) costs and perpetuate hospitals’ existing financial hardships as they work to return to normal operations during the COVID-19 pandemic. Tariffs would also worsen the existing supply chain challenges associated with these products and negatively impact hospitals’ ability to deliver safe, high-quality care. In addition, tariffs on products used to produce pharmaceuticals would lead to increased manufacturing costs, higher consumer drug prices, and potential drug shortages.
Since GNYHA submitted comments, the USTR adopted an interim extension of the exclusions for 45 days, through November 14, to provide time to review public comments.
To help in the fight against COVID-19, the USTR previously excluded from Section 301 tariffs certain medical products imported from China, including many types of PPE and raw materials used to manufacture medical products and pharmaceuticals. The exclusions, which were set to expire on September 30, allowed health care manufacturers, distributors, and providers to purchase these products at reduced costs. On August 27, the USTR requested public comment on whether the exclusions should be further extended for up to six months.