WASHINGTON: The US Trade Representative’s office said it extended tariff exclusions on Chinese-made medical products needed to address the COVID-19 pandemic for another six months, to Nov. 30.
The exclusions from tariffs of up to 25% imposed by former President Donald Trump’s administration were granted in 2020 and were subsequently extended, but were due to expire on May 31, USTR said. Products affected by the extension include face masks, surgical gloves, hospital gowns, and other related products and devices.
The trade conflict between the US and China began when then-president Donald Trump imposed tariffs on USD350 billion worth of Chinese products, citing what he called unfair trade practices and theft of US technology and intellectual property.
With inflation at its highest level in more than four decades, President Joe Biden is under pressure to end so-called “Section 301” tariffs, many of which are due to lapse in July.
USTR officials have said they are reaching out to businesses and the public to seek comment on whether to extend the tariffs.
In Washington and Beijing in January 2020 signed a so-called “phase one” trade agreement under which Beijing pledged to increase its purchases of American products and services by at least USD200 billion over 2020 and 2021 – but the target was not met amid the COVID-19 pandemic.