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Trump proposes tariffs on Chinese CT, MR and X-ray equipment

by Lisa Chamoff, Contributing Reporter | April 04, 2018
Business Affairs CT MRI X-Ray
The Trump administration’s proposed 25 percent tariff on more than 1,300 Chinese products includes medical devices such as MR magnets and CT scanners, and, if enacted, could put a damper on China as an emerging market for U.S. device manufacturers, experts say.

A document from the Office of the United States Trade Representative, which has scheduled a May 15 public hearing on the tariffs, includes a long list of the products. On the list are MR magnets, CT and X-ray systems and accessories, X-ray tubes and X-ray generators, as well as many additional medical devices and supplies.

The steep tariffs, proposed by the White House to penalize China for stealing intellectual property from American companies, will probably not affect the U.S. sales of large companies such as GE, Siemens, and Philips, which manufacture imaging systems in the U.S. However, they will likely slow the sales growth for companies looking to sell devices in China.
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China has since shot back by announcing import levies on soybeans, cars and airplanes from the U.S.

China is one of the fastest growing markets for health care. Kalorama Information, a health care market research firm, recently published a report showing that the current $390 million market for CT scanners sold in China is expected to grow to $500 million by 2021.

“It’s a significant growth market for U.S companies, and really all global companies selling into China,” Bruce Carlson, publisher of Kalorama Information, told HCB News. “You need to go to emerging markets to show growth.”

While it remains to be seen whether the higher tariffs will go through, companies should expect that China will add new duties on similar products sold by the U.S.

“If it goes through, it will hurt,” Carlson said.

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