Commentary: High tariffs unhelpful for U.S. fighting coronavirus

Source: Xinhua| 2020-04-17 20:19:43|Editor: huaxia

BEIJING, April 17 (Xinhua) -- While the U.S. is busy dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic, its high duties on imports of critical medical equipment, notably from China, could burden itself and undercut the effectiveness of its efforts.

The severity of the pandemic in the United States heightens the country's pressing demand for personal protective equipment, of which China used to be a key supplier. But since 2018, the U.S. administration has levied additional tariffs on Chinese imports of medical supplies.

The Trump administration has removed some tariffs on Chinese imports temporarily. But according to the Peterson Institute of International Economics (PIIE), a U.S. think tank, 1.1 billion dollars of imports which could potentially treat coronavirus patients remain subject to 25 percent tariffs, and 3.3 billion U.S. dollars in imports of other critical health-care products still face 7.5 percent tariffs.

Chad Bown, a researcher with the PIIE, observed that the U.S. administration's tariffs on Chinese medical products may contribute to shortages and higher costs of vital equipment at a time of nationwide health crisis.

The high tariffs on China's medical equipment and other goods will not only hamper the flow of much-needed medical supplies to the United States, but also undermine U.S. efforts to contain the economic fallout of this crisis, as many American companies are in urgent need of imported parts or consumer goods from China. The U.S. side is paying a price for the trade barriers it erected against Chinese imports, and this does not serve its own interests.

Viruses respect no borders. Solidarity and cooperation are the most powerful weapon against the novel coronavirus.

China has taken prompt, decisive and forceful measures in the battle against COVID-19, while making contributions to global public health.

Chinese manufacturers are working around the clock to produce medical supplies, and the country has provided convenience in transport and customs clearance to facilitate orderly exporting.

As the world economy feels the brunt of the pandemic's impact, protectionism will only make the situation worse. At the Group of Twenty (G20) Extraordinary Leaders' Summit in March, member countries have agreed to actively take measures such as reducing or removing tariffs, eliminating trade barriers and facilitating unfettered trade.

It is time for the U.S. side to reconsider its trade policy toward China so that the two great countries can pool their efforts to contain the pandemic and minimize the ensuing global economic cost. Enditem