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U.S. Industry Groups Call For Tariffs on Chinese Robots and Covid-19 Related Machinery to be Lifted

By Ding Yi / May 05, 2020 11:43 AM / World

Photo: Visual China

Photo: Visual China

Major U.S. companies and trade groups are reportedly urging the Trump administration to expand its tax exemptions to Chinese-made high-tech products, two months after the U.S. Trade Representative’s Office (USTR) lifted tariffs on some medical goods imported from China as a reaction to the coronavirus crisis.

In March, the USTR said that it would not impose tariffs on some critical health-related products including ventilators, oxygen masks and nebulizers from China at a time when the pandemic began spreading rapidly across the U.S..

The Consumer Technology Association and several other industry bodies said in an open letter that sensors and cameras used for telehealth services, robots that can sterilize infected spaces, drones that can deliver medical supplies and networking equipment in data centers, among other products, should be entitled to the tariff waivers, Reuters reported on Tuesday.

The letter was echoed by the National Elevator Industry, which said that the tariff exemptions should also be granted for elevators and escalator parts that are “essential to the functions of healthcare facilities, hospitals and medical equipment factories,” according to the report.

The Computing Technology Industry Association also joined the petition, calling on the government to lift tariffs on personal computers, monitors, servers and other electronics because they are used by all essential critical infrastructure workers, Reuters said.

In China, products powered by advanced technologies have been widely used in the fight against the coronavirus. For example, robots have been used to deliver meals, take body temperatures and disinfect rooms in hospitals in order to reduce cross infections and save on protective gear for medics. Unmanned aerial vehicles have been used to spray disinfecting chemicals in some virus-hit parts of the country.

Contact reporter Ding Yi (yiding@caixin.com)

Related: China’s Robotics Spending to Reach $121 Billion in 2024


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