WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. Trade Representative’s office said it granted on Thursday exclusions from import tariffs for some medical products imported from China, including face masks, stethoscope covers and blood pressure cuff sleeves.
The exclusions were granted as the United States grapples with a coronavirus outbreak that threatens to strain its healthcare system.
Earlier this month, USTR granted exclusions for other Chinese medical products, including hand sanitizing wipes and examination gloves.
The products were included in a fourth round of tariffs on Chinese goods imposed by President Donald Trump on Sept. 1, 2019, amid heated U.S.-China trade negotiations.
The tariff rate on the medical products was initially set at 15%, but was lowered to 7.5% on Feb. 15 as part of the Phase 1 U.S.-China trade agreement. The deal leaves in place tariffs on about $370 billion worth of imports from China, including 25% duties on goods valued at around $250 billion.
(Reporting by Eric Beech; Editing by Sandra Maler)