Stephen J. Ubl, president and CEO of the Advanced Medical Technology Association (AdvaMed), issued a statement Oct. 4 urging Congress to pass legislation to implement a U.S.-Korea Free Trade Agreement (FTA) as quickly as possible. The bill, now before Congress, contains a specific section on medical devices and projects increased exports to South Korea after reduction and elimination of a number of tariffs.
“The U.S.-Korea Free Trade Act has specific provisions addressing the concerns of the medical technology industry and illustrates the benefits that these agreements can bring to the medical technology sector and to job creation in the U.S.,” said Ubl. “According to the U.S. Department of Commerce, Korea is one of the largest and fastest growing markets for medical technology. U.S. manufacturers exported over $875 million worth of medical technology products to Korea in 2010, while Korea exported $331 million in medical technology products to the United States.”
The FTA would eliminate remaining tariffs for U.S. medical device exports immediately for most products, and phase out tariffs within three years for other products. Some specific products—such as MRI apparatus and ultrasonic scanning apparatus—would have phased in tariff reductions over a 10-year period, according to a U.S. International Trade Commission publication.
“With a growing economy, the Korean people will come to demand an even higher level of health care and with that demand comes increased U.S. export opportunities," said Ubl. "AdvaMed views the implementation of this agreement—the first FTA with specific provisions for the medical technology industry—as an opportunity to increase exports of medical technology products to this expanding market.”