At Gardner’s Urging, USTR Drops Tariffs on Medical Supplies Critical to Coronavirus Response
Washington, D.C. – After urging from U.S. Senator Cory Gardner (R-CO), a member of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, United States Trade Representative (USTR) Ambassador Robert Lighthizer removed tariffs on certain medical products that are necessary for the U.S. to prepare for the ongoing novel coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.
“To ensure that the United States is prepared to contain and combat the spread of this outbreak, it is crucial that there is a robust supply of critical medical products like gloves, thermometers, and medical caps,” said Senator Gardner. “I applaud USTR for following through on my request to remove tariffs on these items to address medical supply chain concerns and public health demands.”
Senator Gardner is taking action to protect Coloradans from the coronavirus outbreak:
- Congress approved $8.3 billion for the United States to prepare for and respond to the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak on March 5,with Gardner’s support.
- On March 4, Gardner pressed Senate witnesses about the United States’ preparedness for the COVID-19 outbreak at a hearing held by the Senate Commerce Subcommittee on Aviation and Space’s hearing titled “From SARS to Coronavirus: Examining the Role of Global Aviation in Containing the Spread of Infectious Disease.”
- Gardner and the entire Colorado congressional delegation sent a letter to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Wellness and Response on March 4 in support of the State of Colorado’s grant request to ensure preparedness for the novel coronavirus outbreak.
- On February 28, Gardner wrote to United States Trade Representative (USTR) Ambassador Robert Lighthizer requesting USTR remove section 301 import tariffs on medical products that are necessary for the U.S. to prepare for the ongoing coronavirus outbreak.
- On February 27, Gardner wrote to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Dr. Robert Redfield, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, and Federal Aviation Administrator Steve Dickson requesting information regarding the United States’ domestic and international screening and prevention practices for the coronavirus with regard to countries with a growing number of hotspots.
- On February 6, Gardner wrote to Senate Appropriations leaders requesting that they work with the Department of Health and Human Servicesto ensure robust funding for the outbreak response.
- On January 31, Gardner wrote to World Health Organization (WHO) Director-General Tedros concerning Taiwan’s exclusion from the WHO and WHO-sponsored emergency briefings regarding the coronavirus.
- Also on January 31, Gardner wrote to Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Azar requesting that the novel coronavirus taskforce coordinate with medical supply manufacturers to ensure that the U.S. has a medical supply strategy in place to address possible shortages in light of potential further spread of the virus.
- In January after the first reports of the coronavirus were confirmed in the U.S., Gardner contacted the CDC to inquire about steps that they plan to take to contain the outbreak and work with other domestic and international agencies to develop screening practices and treatments.
- Gardner also contacted the State Department with concerns about the coronavirus and its implication for global health, and China’s handling of the outbreak.
- At Gardner’s urging on January 24, the U.S. Senate Committees on Foreign Relations and Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions held a briefingfrom top U.S. officials regarding the coronavirus.
Cory Gardner is a member of the U.S. Senate serving Colorado. He sits on the Energy & Natural Resources Committee, the Foreign Relations Committee, the Commerce, Science, & Transportation Committee, and is the Chairman of the Subcommittee on East Asia, the Pacific, and International Cybersecurity Policy.
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