WASHINGTON, D.C. - Sen. Rob Portman on Tuesday said he’s working to lift tariffs implemented by the Trump administration on several Chinese-made packaging parts that Akron-based Gojo Industries uses in the pumps that dispense its Purell brand hand sanitizer, which is in heavy demand to fight the spread of the coronavirus pandemic.
“We need all the hand sanitizer we can produce, and Purell is a global leader in that,” said Portman.
Earlier this month, the U.S. Trade Representative’s office denied the company’s request to lift a 25 percent tariff on Chinese-made pump houses and e-collar dispenser parts that Purell uses in its dispensers. Portman said the tariffs cost the company around $10 million, and they should be lifted to facilitate its efforts to boost production of its badly needed product.
“These are items that are critical to the public health response to coronavirus and we should do everything we can do to maximize the supply of this product, so I hope that by the end of this week we will have a successful outcome there, and we will be able to get an exclusion from those tariffs,” said Portman. He said he’s working with a number of other companies to facilitate production of products for use in fighting coronavirus.
Earlier this week, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration reversed an earlier refusal to permit Columbus-based Battelle to distribute a new device to sterilize N95 masks, which are also in short supply because of coronavirus. Battelle says the devices will be able to clean up to 160,000 masks a day in Ohio alone, helping to alleviate mask shortages by allowing their reuse. Portman said he joined Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine in contacting the White House and FDA to facilitate the decision.