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Global Times

Chinese customs launches toughest measures over medical exports

Global Times

By Yin Yeping Source:Global Times Published: 2020/4/11 19:55:29

Chinese customs require that 11 types of medical supplies ranging from masks to ventilators must be inspected before being exported. Experts said the move would be one of the most rigorous against exports in history to ensure they meet the standards of Chinese medical devices.

The move came in response to the claim that China's recent export of 2 million medical masks and 230,000 N95 masks were below medical-use standards, experts said.

Chen Hongyan, Secretary-General of the Medical Appliances Branch of the China Medical Pharmaceutical Material Association, told the Global Times on Saturday that the reasoning for the new requirement was that issuing inspection certificates alone were not enough, and the products should also be inspected to see whether they meet the standards of Chinese medical devices, otherwise they will damage the image of products made in China.

In response to criticism over certain Chinese exported medical items, the Ministry of Commerce, the General Administration of Customs and the National Medical Products Administration issued joint regulations on March 31 requesting the suppliers of a series of medical items including masks and ventilators must obtain Chinese markings in addition to markings from export destination countries.

An employee surnamed Li at a mask producing factory in South China's Guangdong Province, told the Global Times that they were aware of the latest notification from China Customs on Friday, and believe it's the right thing to do in terms of building a fair image of Chinese-made products around the world. Li noted that the inspection measures are necessary so as to stop low quality products.

"We are not concerned about this inspection because we know that our products are good quality and always have been since the beginning," he said.

Li's company has been producing masks and exporting business for decades, and with a daily capacity of up to 100,000 masks for export to the US and Europe. Li said so far they haven't found any deliveries affected by the inspection measures.

"Not all products or every single piece will be inspected," Chen said, adding that if raw materials, for example, are not up to standard, a test of a single unit would be enough to guess the overall quality of a whole batch.

In terms of whether additional inspections would cause delays to deliveries, Chen said that the inspection for masks normally can be done within a day, while other products could be longer.

However, Chen noted that since the exact criteria for the inspection has not been unveiled, it is not clear how long it would take regarding inspection of any items.

"On-the-spot checks never waste time as safety is the most important thing," Chen said. "We believe that good products can withstand inspection."

How about the poor quality ones then? "Fake products will be destroyed directly and producers may even have to pay for destruction costs," Chen said.

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