尽管美国的关税清单中仅包含一些护理产品（如手术用布帘和医用手套），并且似乎以食品和衣物为主，但其中也包括多种形式的原材料，例如铝、铁、不锈钢等，这就引发了关于关税对医疗器械制造业有何影响的疑问。大家不确定这类影响涉及面有多广，因此大家邀请您在此处的调查中通过匿名方式予以告知。（大家希翼在以后的报道中匿名分享调查结果。）Grant Thornton医疗和生命科学实践的董事总经理Pat Shafer早在8月份就告诉MD+DI，预计相对于制造业总成本的百分比，美国自9月1日实施的关税影响相对较小。他表示，此类影响还取决于美国医疗器械制造商是否真的从中国采购此类原材料。当被问及中国将对美国商品征收关税的消息时，Shafer说，“中国实施报复性关税是可以理解的，但在七国集团（G7）事件发生后，尚不清楚未来会怎样。”Shafer表示，关税的大部分影响已经在第一轮对华商品征收关税的过程中有所体现。他说，最初列入该清单的许多医疗器械后来被豁免，但该清单仍然包括医疗器械制造商使用的潜在组件。他敦促各企业确定是否可以申请豁免。该Docket列出了多个行业中被批准和拒绝的排除商品。（MD+DI已联系美国贸易代表处（USTR），并询问了以下问题：医疗器械制造商是否仍可以对其从中国进口的成品医疗器械申请豁免，以及医疗器械制造商是否可以针对用于在美国制造成品医疗器械的中国进口原材料申请豁免）。与此同时，Shafer建议，医疗器械制造商应制定长期供应链战略，而不是针对每项新的关税公告做出回应。“这些制造商需要制定长期战略性规划来保护产品，甚至用于保护产品的盈利能力，”他说。9月1日起实施的关税只是个小插曲，对利润的影响相对较小。相反，企业需要从更广泛的角度思考，以减轻未来供应链的风险，并制定长远战略。"Shafer举了一个例子，他指出自己过去帮助某些企业建立他所说的“弹性供应链”的工作经历。“几年前，我开始帮助一些生产畅销药的制药企业制定业务连续性计划，”他说。“这些计划包括双重采购所有材料，特别是那些来自有政治风险国家的供应商的材料；创建用于监控各个供应商所带来的风险的仪表板；并监控供应商的风险管理计划，例如他们是否将其所有物资都放在一栋建筑物里。”尽管如此，Shafer承认“关税是一个大问题”，可能会对制造业造成冲击。他还指出了一轮没有付诸实施的单独性关税。“大家刚从Juárez–El Paso回来，那里的货物进入墨西哥，经历了增值流程，然后运回美国。Juárez–El Paso自由贸易区为该地区的成功做出了贡献。（对墨西哥商品征收的）关税最终被取消，但我不得不认为，人们难免会对接下来可能发生的事情感到担忧。”总而言之，关税会带来哪些影响将势必是9月23日至25日在波士顿举行的美国医疗技术大会（主办方为美国先进医疗技术协会（AdvaMed））期间讨论的话题之一。AdvaMed全球策略和分析实行副总裁Ralph Ives表示，设备倡导组织认为关税可能会对该行业产生负面影响。Ives通过电子邮件告诉MD+DI：“AdvaMed正在与美国贸易代表处就中美贸易谈判进行磋商。”“大家将继续与华盛顿和北京的官员通力合作，确保双方对大家的观点有所了解。AdvaMed强烈反对双方对每天可以帮助拯救数百万人生命以及改善无数人生活的医疗技术产品征收关税。大家仍然希翼双方谈判能够圆满结束。谈判结果十分微妙，具有广泛的影响，而医疗器械行业也站在其所服务患者的角度密切关注着这类影响。”What Do the Tariffs Mean for Medtech?
A new round of tariffs on U.S. imports from China took effect September 1, and China announced its own round of tariffs on U.S.-made goods would also take effect Sept 1. The Sept. 1 tariffs imposed by the United States were originally set at 10%, and they were later increased to 15% after China’s announcement.
While the U.S. list contains just a few healthcare products (e.g., surgical drapes and medical gloves) and seems to be dominated by food and clothing items, it does include raw materials such as several forms of aluminum, iron, stainless steel, and others, raising the question as to the impact on medical device manufacturing. We are not sure of that impact, so we invite you to tell us anonymously in our survey here. (We hope to share survey results anonymously in a future story.)
Pat Shafer, managing director of Grant Thornton’s healthcare and life sciences practice, told MD+DI back in August that the U.S.’s Sept. 1 tariffs were expected to have “a relatively small impact, in terms of a percentage of overall cost of manufacturing.” He said that the impact also depends upon whether U.S. medical device manufacturers are in fact sourcing such raw materials from China.
When asked about China’s news that it would levy its own tariffs on U.S. goods, Shafer said that “Chinese retaliation would be understandable—but after the G7 turn of events, it’s unclear what the future holds.”
Shafer said most of the impact from tariffs has already been felt as a result of the first round levied on Chinese goods. A number of finished medical devices originally on this list were later exempted, but that list still does include potential subassemblies used by medical device manufacturers, he said. He urged companies to check to see whether an exemption may apply. This docket lists exclusions that have been granted and denied across several industries. (MD+DI has reached out to the USTR to ask whether medical device manufacturers can still apply for exemptions for their finished medical devices imported from China and whether medical device manufacturers can apply for exemptions for raw materials imported from China to manufacture their finished medical devices in the United States.)
Meanwhile, rather than react to each new tariff announcement, medical device manufacturers instead should develop a long-term supply-chain strategy, Shafer advised. “Strategic long-term planning is needed to protect products, even the profitability of products,” he said. “The September 1 tariffs are a hiccup, with a relatively minor effect on margins. Instead, companies need to think in broader terms to mitigate future supply-chain risks and develop a long-term strategy.”
As an example, Shafer points to past work helping companies create what he calls “resilient supply chains.”
“I started several years ago helping pharmaceutical companies with blockbuster drugs come up with business continuity plans," he said. "These plans included dual-sourcing all materials, especially those from suppliers in countries with political risk; creating dashboards that monitor the risks presented by each supplier; and monitoring suppliers for their own risk management programs, such as whether they keep all their own supplies in just one building.”
Nonetheless, Shafer acknowledged that “tariffs are a big deal” and can impact manufacturing. He pointed to a separate round of tariffs that did not materialize. “We just got back from Juárez–El Paso, where goods come into Mexico and go through value-added processes and are shipped back to the United States. The free-trade zone in Juárez–El Paso contributes to the success of this region. Tariffs [on Mexico goods] were ultimately discarded, but I have to think that people are nervous about what might happen next.”
The impact of the tariffs, ingeneral, will be a topic of discussion during AdvaMed’s MedTech Conference held in Boston, September 23-25. Ralph Ives, AdvaMed’s executive VP of global strategy and analysis, said the device advocacy group has taken the position that tariffs could have a negative impact on the industry.
“AdvaMed is engaged with USTR regarding the U.S.-China trade talks,” Ives told MD+DI via email. “We will continue to work with officials in Washington and Beijing to make sure our views are known. AdvaMed strongly opposes tariffs by both sides on medical technology products that help save and improve millions of lives every day. We remain hopeful for asuccessful conclusion of the negotiations, which are delicate and with broad-reaching implications that our industry is watching closely on behalf of the patients we serve."