Global demand for PPE, especially in US, fuels China’s exports: WSJ

NEW YORK (XINHUA) – China’s exports globally benefitted both from its ability to re-open factories faster than other countries and its ability to provide massive amounts of the products needed to fight the novel coronavirus, reported The Wall Street Journal (WSJ) on Saturday.

China posted a 9.5 per cent rise in outbound shipping in August compared with the same period last year, as the global lockdowns “played to China’s manufacturing strength,” and the United States (US) tariffs exemption on medical goods from China also helped, the paper quoted Rory Green, a Seoul-based economist at research company TS Lombard, as saying.

For example, as US Census data showed, a textile category of Chinese exports to the US that includes face masks rose 156 per cent in the first eight months of this year, and stripping out other items in the category shows cloth masks surged 465 per cent in the period, the paper said in its report titled ‘Chinese Exports to US Get a Pandemic Lift.’

Scott Rein, President of Western Medical Consulting & Supplies LLC which provides medical expertise to Chinese entities including hospitals, told the paper that due to the pandemic, he suddenly found himself in the business of importing Chinese medical products to the US.

With an acute shortage of personal protection equipment (PPE) as the virus spread widely in the US, Rein said his company managed to purchase more than four million masks, hand sanitisers and other personal products from China.

He sold most of it directly to hospitals. Still in the US, he is now selling Chinese masks and hand sanitizers directly to consumers, reported WSJ.

China’s total exports to the US were down by only 3.6 per cent in the first eight months of this year from the same period in 2019, Chinese official data showed.

“As China bounced back from pandemic lockdowns earlier than the rest of the world, activity picked up. In July, exports to the US jumped by 13 per cent from a year earlier, followed by a 20 per cent rise in August. September figures aren’t out yet,” the paper reported.

A person wearing a face mask pushes a cart past a street vendor selling personal protective equipment (PPE) in the Midwood neighbourhood in Brooklyn of New York. PHOTO: XINHUA