- The medical device industry has been successful in minimizing the damage from the Trump administration's trade war with China, but they are bracing for future impact, AdvaMed chief Scott Whitaker said Monday.
- The total burden on medtech, according to lists released as of last week, is $754 million on an annualized basis, far less than the top line numbers targeted at China in recent months, according to the group.
- Still Whitaker said the industry is not out of the woods by any means. "If the trade war continues, and the escalation continues, we suspect it will be more impactful to us," he said.
The industry is trying to put the best light on a bad situation, as it opposes any new tariffs and is lobbying the administration fiercely to stem the pain.
AdvaMed has been working to convince the U.S. Trade Representative of the potential harms from the get-go, but following six back and forth shots between the U.S. and China, the medtech association's success may begin to wane.
"We were very successful in the first two rounds of having little-to-no direct medtech products on the list. As the number has gotten bigger, and as the back and forth between China and the U.S. has grown, we are starting to see it impact us a little more," Whitaker said at The Medtech Conference in Philadelphia.
Earlier this month, the U.S. slapped an additional $200 billion worth of Chinese imports, at a 10% tariff, rising to 25% by Jan. 2019. "When you get the $200 billion and [higher], then you are starting to hit all aspects of the economy," noted Whitaker.
While medical devices aren't explicitly on the list, the broader it gets the more likely it will include component parts used by members of the industry. "Depending on where you sit on medtech, whether on imaging or other spaces you’ll have more of a direct impact because of component parts," Whitaker noted.
Broadly, the group said that the combined hit to medtech from China's $16 billion and $60 billion lists "accounts for almost all U.S. medical device and diagnostic exports to China."
AdvaMed is working to compile a document of affected devices and companies it expects to release sometime in the next two months.