June 17, 2020 / 5:17 PM / 20 days ago

USTR favors tariffs to boost domestic production of medical equipment

FILE PHOTO: United States Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer speaks at a news conference prior to the inaugural round of North American Free Trade Agreement renegotiations in Washington, U.S., August 16, 2017. REUTERS/Aaron P. Bernstein

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer on Wednesday said he believed that medical products needed to fight the current coronavirus pandemic and any future outbreaks should be made domestically and he favored tariffs to ensure that occurred.

Lighthizer told a hearing of the House Ways and Means Committee he did not favor reducing tariffs on needed products as proposed by the European Union and other countries, arguing that would further shift production overseas.

“I’d be far more in favor of increasing tariffs on the things that we need as part of an overall plan to make sure that the next time we have domestic manufacturing capability in these areas,” Lighthizer said.

Reporting by Andrea Shalal, Editing by Franklin Paul

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