China’s state-run Global Times reported on Friday that Chinese manufacturers of masks and other personal protective equipment (PPE) are receiving an avalanche of orders from the United States and are “more than ready” to supply whatever is needed to help the Biden administration’s “serious fight” against the Wuhan coronavirus.
The Global Times was especially excited by President Joe Biden’s executive orders to mandate mask-wearing, saying the order “comes at a particularly late stage, but better late than never.”
According to the report, American buyers have placed as many orders with Chinese suppliers over the past month as they did in all of 2020:
The number of inquiries from the US in January has doubled since December, including some with firm buying intentions worth 10 million yuan ($1.54 million), equal to the 2020 total, Huang Yuhao, president of Health Box in East China’s Anhui Province, a domestic mask producer, told the Global Times.
The rise in US demand comes as US President Joe Biden starts to take more effective measures to curb the virus. Total deaths from the coronavirus pandemic in the US will probably top 500,000 next month, Biden warned Thursday.
Biden also signed 10 executive orders on his first full day in office to combat the COVID-19 epidemic, mandating mask wearing in all public transportation and directing agencies to use wartime powers to require US companies to make N95 masks, swabs and other equipment.
A former Chinese trade official told the Global Times that American buyers used to turn away from Chinese vendors if they learned the latter did not have the proper export certifications from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), but the market for Chinese masks has grown so hot that American buyers are offering to help the Chinese companies get all the certifications they need to complete the sales.
“We have faith that the new U.S. government will treat China’s epidemic material suppliers with a more objective attitude, unlike its predecessor,” said Chinese mask producer Huang Yuhao.
Bloomberg News quoted a Chinese customs official last week who said China has manufactured the equivalent of 40 face masks for every person on Earth since the pandemic began, along with billions of dollars of other PPE, leading to a 31-percent rise in medical exports during 2020, which was a record year for Chinese exports overall.