Products Exempted From New Tariffs ..For Now – Trade Policy

Of the 5,745 products that have been tagged with tariffs as they arrive in the U.S. from China, a handful have been omitted from tariffs. Among the exempted products are ibuprofen, barite, fluorine salts, and smartwatches.

As newly imposed tariffs became effective in late September, numerous industries and companies have realized how vulnerable the U.S. is to various products and materials exclusively supplied by China.

Fluorine salt, an essential chemical used to manufacture electrolytes for electric car batteries, is exempt from tariffs for the time being. Certain auto manufacturers and battery manufacturers located in the U.S. lobbied heavily to keep the chemical off the tariff list.

The mineral barite is used widely in the U.S. energy industry for the purpose of facilitating the use of drilling fluids in oil and gas exploration.

Department of Commerce data reveals that 90% of ibuprofen consumed in the U.S. is imported from China. Even though actual pills and tablets are produced in the United States, the key ingredient is imported directly from China. Various medical groups lobbied to have ibuprofen exempt from tariffs since it is widely used as a safe and easily available medication. Because of its broad medical application, the World Health Organization has placed ibuprofen on its list of Essential Medicines.

A range of businesses from enormous energy companies to smaller suppliers of specialty parts have lobbied for tariff exemptions ever since the tariff wars began. Many have agreed that China has become an indispensable supplier of many raw and essential products used in the U.S. China has become a global producer of relatively obscure industrial commodities used in a host of numerous products, which the U.S. has become increasingly reliant on.

Recently imposed tariffs currently affect about $250 billion of Chinese imports, with an additional $267 billion proposed by year end. China has thus far retaliated with $110 billion in tariffs on U.S. products, yet exempted certain products such as oil. The ratio of trade between the U.S. and China stands at 4-to-1, meaning that for every 4 Chinese products the U.S. buys, China buys 1.

Source: Commerce Department, World Health Organization

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