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Medical Carts & Trade Wars 

April 6, 2018

El Dorado Hills, CA USA – Today’s current events are filled with headlines discussing the potential for an upcoming “Trade War with China.” Medical carts are a paramount player in global healthcare. Will the potential USA – China trade dispute impact our world of medical carts?

It would be hard to say without thoroughly researching the approximate 75 US OEM and ODM manufacturers of medical carts. What we know is the US administration has announced tariff’s on items and goods from China – to include “Medical Equipment.” This is on top of an earlier spate of tariff’s on Chinese steel and aluminum. So in a nutshell theoretically a US company who is importing wholly assembled medical carts, medical parts classified as ‘medical equipment’, or aluminum …  or steel to fulfill some portion of their US medical cart demand – they may soon be feeling a financial impact. I say ‘may’ because these tariff’s have been ‘announced’ not implemented.

Many savvy US companies maintain a diversified portfolio of manufacturers, suppliers, and assembly plants to protect from potential trade wars such as this. That may include multiple overseas and domestic partners allowing them to shift a bit one way or the other.

On the other side of globe – China has responded with a few announcements of their own. This is a 25% tariff on items such as cars, airplanes, and soybeans which is an expansion of an earlier declared tariff on agriculture items such as fruits, nuts, and pork. Today’s medical cart market players here in the US do a substantial amount of exporting globally. Knowing China’s manufacturing capacity first hand my guess would be US medical cart exports there are minimal – and more concentrated in countries that do not possess mass manufacturing as China does.

In 2012 I accepted an invitation from the owner of a medical cart manufacturing company in Nanjing, China. It was the beginning of a relationship that would evolve into my importing medical carts of several types by container to the US. I made new friends and learned a lot about medical carts, market perception, and business in general. I do remember having to pay my freight broker who paid US customs tariff’s on the various medical carts. Specifically the mobile computing medical carts had a much higher tariff rate than the non-technology medical carts.

US based medical cart companies who are importing all or a majority of their raw material or finished product into the US may respond in different ways to financial impact of a new tariff. They may either absorb the cost, pass through to consumer (the US healthcare market), push back on supplier in China to absorb it via a temporary discount equal to the tariff for the duration thereof, or diversify their supply chain by reallocating supply demand to another country or repatriotinzing to the USA.

Below is my photo at the medical cart factory in Nanjing, China.

For Your Medical Cart Solutions, 


Cartadvocate on factory floor of medical cart manufacturing company in China - 2012

Cartadvocate on factory floor of medical cart manufacturing company in China – 2012

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