MN med tech industry warns tariffs could drive up health care costs

President Trump in a meeting with steel and aluminum industries leaders.
President Trump participates in a meeting with leaders of the steel and aluminum industries at the White House March 1, 2018, in Washington, D.C.
Win McNamee | Getty Images

The industry group that represents medical device manufacturers in Minnesota says President Trump's proposed steel tariff would drive up the cost of devices. Medical Alley Association Vice President Frank Jaskulke said stainless steel is widely used in medical devices and throughout the health care industry.

"If the price of steel goes up, that would increase the price of inputs into the manufacture of medical devices and certain hospital equipment like things as simple as counter tops," Jaskulke said.

Trump is calling for a 25 percent tariff on foreign steel and a 10 percent tariff on aluminum. Minnesota's iron ore industry says Trump's proposed tariffs could help level the playing field for U.S. steel producers. But economists say the policy could raise prices for consumer goods.

Critics say imposing such fees would lead other countries to retaliate with their own tariffs on U.S. goods, leading to rising prices for consumer goods and services.

"I think raising heath care costs are a thing we all want to avoid," Jaskulke said.

Trump tweeted early Friday that, "Trade wars are good, and easy to win."

Before you go...

MPR News is dedicated to bringing you clarity in coverage from our reporters across the state, stories that connect us, and conversations that provide perspectives when we need it most. We rely on your help to do this. Your donation has the power to keep MPR News strong and accessible to all during this crisis and beyond.