DETROIT -- General Motors plans to supply 30,000 ventilators to the national stockpile by the end of August as part of a nearly $490 million contract under the Defense Production Act.
The Wednesday announcement from the Department of Health and Human Services marks the first contract for ventilator production under the act, following President Donald Trump's direction to Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar to invoke the act with regard to GM's production of the critical medical equipment during the COVID-19 crisis.
GM will deliver 6,132 ventilators by June 1, the department said. The automaker is producing the ventilators at its 2.6 million-square-foot plant in Kokomo, Ind.
"GM and Ventec Life Systems are working with speed and urgency to arm front-line medical professionals with the critical-care ventilators they need to treat seriously ill patients," the automaker said in a statement Wednesday.
On March 31, GM sent a letter requesting tariff relief to the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative for certain components used in manufacturing ventilators.
GM gets "a small number of the ventilator's 700 components from established suppliers in China" that are subject to Section 301 tariffs, the company said in the letter.
"We appreciate that USTR invited tariff exclusion requests from companies supporting COVID-19 efforts," GM spokeswoman Jeannine Ginivan said in an emailed statement to Automotive News. "Most of the ventilator components will be sourced in the United States and North America, but a small percentage are produced from outside of the region. The outcome of the request will have no impact on GM's commitment to this important effort."
The trade office is seeking comments through at least June 25 for businesses and others to request product exclusions from Section 301 tariffs for certain medical care products made in China.