By Tony Edwards, DrBicuspid.com editor in chief

June 15, 2018 -- The dental industry received mixed news in the trade showdown between the U.S. and China, as many dental products were taken off the list of products and materials that will have tariffs slapped on them. However, imaging, optical, and anesthetic devices were not spared and remain on the list released on June 15.

On April 3, the Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR) released an initial list of 1,300 products and materials that could have 25% tariffs imposed on their import from China. That initial list was winnowed to 818 products and materials. The USTR also released a second list of more than 280 "tariff lines" that will undergo a public review period. This second list did not include any dental products.

The just-released list included at least eight dental and dental industry-related products and materials:

  • Ultrasonic scanning electrodiagnostic apparatus
  • Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) electrodiagnostic apparatus
  • Scintigraphic electrodiagnostic apparatus
  • Ultraviolet or infrared ray apparatus
  • Optical instruments and appliances
  • Anesthetic instruments and appliances
  • Apparatus based on the use of x-rays for dental uses (other than computed tomography apparatus)
  • Apparatus based on the use of alpha, beta, or gamma radiations

The entire list can be accessed here. The tariffs will go into effect on July 6, according to the USTR.

Removed from the list

A number of products were removed from the initial list after medical-device industry feedback and public comment. The products taken off the list include at least nine products that pertain to the dental industry:

  • Dental cements
  • Dental fillings
  • Tubular metal needles and needles for sutures
  • Dental drill engines, whether or not combined on a single base with other dental equipment
  • Dental burs
  • Instruments and apparatus used in dental sciences
  • Artificial teeth and parts and accessories, composed of plastics
  • Dental fittings and parts and accessories, composed of plastics
  • Dental fittings and parts and accessories, other than those composed of plastics

At press time, DrBicuspid.com had reached out to multiple manufacturers for comment.

The Dental Trade Alliance issued a statement from President and CEO Gary Price on its website on June 14 that stated the alliance was communicating with leaders in the U.S. Congress and with the administration of U.S. President Donald Trump on the impact of proposed tariffs.


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