To Our Valued Customers:

 

The Covid-19 situation impacting all of us is constantly evolving and we want to continue to advise what we are seeing and experiencing in the market. At Laufer, we are committed to providing you with information as possible as quickly as possible, understanding, of course, that events are quite fluid and changing rapidly.

 

Here is a short list of what we are seeing this week:

 

*NEW* Imports of Emergency Medical Equipment: There has been a dramatic surge in the import of emergency medical equipment to assist in addressing the needs of US hospitals and consumers. The imports of these products are very complex and the FDA has stated this is an important area of focus for them. They will be paying close attention to documentation, licensing, and other special requirements to ensure the goods meet all US requirements and standards before being distributed around the country. For more information, we have created the following general information sheet, found here. Additionally, shipments containing Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) will be treated with expedited US Customs clearance as they come in to the country. The Chinese government is also being very stringent on exports of medical supplies, including review of CIQ requirements and contracts between factories and shippers. Shipments not meeting all requirements may be seized and not allowed to leave China.

 

US Customs & Participating Government Agency Operations (CBP & PGA): Many ports have issued standard ‘potential delays’ notices. Some processes and procedures for paper document submission have been altered. Several ports are only open certain days of the week with reduced staff, and many employees are working from home around the country. Specific issues should be handled directly with the port of entry. We will most likely begin to see some back ups and additional exams through Customs and some PGAs – FDA specifically, with the surge of increased imports of medical and emergency relief products.

 

*NEW* Duty Deferral: Although CBP initially indicated that importers could apply for duty deferral on an individual basis, they have since suspended allowing those requests. On Friday, 3/27 there were reports that a 90 day duty suspension was close to being enacted, but during a press conference on 3/31, President Trump addressed duty deferral by stating nothing has been approved. On 4/3 White House economic advisor Larry Kudlow stated that the President would not be moving forward with any broad duty deferral plan. References to these stories can be found here and here. Pressure from the import community and some political figures are providing for continued discussion on the topic, including a potential amendment to the CARES Act.

 

Section 301 and 232 Tariffs: Section 301 and 232 tariffs are still being collected on any applicable imports. Exclusions to Section 301 tariffs, however, are continuing to be granted on a rolling basis which is providing importers some relief on particular products. Three sets of exclusions were granted in the month of March.

Of the 39 exclusions granted last month, more than 80% were related to medical supplies and Personal Protective Equipment. Some of them cover the entire chapter heading, and some are product specific. A general list is provided here for reference. Connecting with your Customs Broker to provide detailed product information and back up documentation will be crucial in applying these exclusions to any imports.

 

Wearables: 

Single use textile face/medical masks

Medical gloves mittens, and mitts of natural or vulcanized rubber (other than hard rubber)

Full category of nonwoven disposable apparel designed for use in hospitals, clinics, and laboratories

Disposable shoe and boot covers

Identification wristbands

Protective eyewear

Plastic coverings to fit over wound sites

 

Supplies and Equipment:

Some soaps and hand gels

Single use: Cold packs, hot packs, blood pressure cuff sleeves, stethoscope covers, and sterile drapes

Laparotomy cotton sponges and other cotton gauze sponges

Refillable ice bags

Eye compresses filled with silica or gel beads

Gel pads

Patient restraint or safety straps

Bed sheets and similar hospital articles of paper pulp, paper, cellulose wadding/webs of cellulose fibers

Laboratory ware

Bowls for use during surgical procedures

Graduated medicine dispensing cups

Decanters used to transfer fluids/medication to and from sterile bags

Powdered medicament plastic pouches

Emesis containment refillable plastic dispensers

Plastic urology drain bags

Pads and straps (of specific materials)

Lift sheets, face masks and other items used for positioning patients

 

*NEW* Additionally, 8 exclusions issued in 2019 which were set to expire on April 18th, have been extended for another year. 13 others will expire as planned and the additional tariff percentage will be assessed on applicable imports once again.

 

We truly appreciate all your support as we navigate this event together. Should you need any additional information or guidance, please feel free to contact your Laufer sales or team member.

 

 

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