Apr 12, 2020 - Health

Businesses say China tariffs contributing to hand sanitizer shortages

A person receiving a pump of hand sanitizer.

Photo: Toni L. Sandys/The Washington Post via Getty Images

Medical supply companies around the United States have asked the Trump administration for relief from the tariffs on China, which they say are increasing the cost of products needed to fight the coronavirus pandemic, the Wall Street Journal reports.

Why it matters: Parts of the country are experiencing shortages of hand sanitizer chemicals, equipment, parts for devices and other items needed in the fight against the coronavirus, and businesses say the tariffs are exacerbating the shortages.

Lubrizol Corp. asked the U.S. to remove the 25% tariff on glutaraldehyde, a disinfectant the company said is effective at killing the coronavirus.

  • Berry Global Group Inc., which makes sanitary wipes, said tariffs on viscose rayon fibers “are a significant financial imposition," according to WSJ.
  • GM asked the Trump administration last week to lift import tariffs on compressor silencers, grommets and other parts imported from China needed to make ventilators for coronavirus patients.

The big picture: The U.S. still imposes tariffs on about $370 billion in Chinese goods, despite the "phase one" trade agreement signed by each country.

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