Vice President Meng Dongping Interviewed by Global Times Regarding Export of Anti-Epidemic Medical Supplies

On May 25, Madam Meng Dongping, Party Secretary and Vice President of CCCMHPIE received the interview by Global Times (Chinese and English versions), and offered insights on the quality problem of Chinese anti-epidemic medical supplies raised by foreign media, measures by the Chinese government to supervise quality of exported medical supplies and contribution of Chinese medical supplies to the global fight against the pandemic.

1. Recently, there have been reports by foreign media regarding disputes over the exported Chinese non-medical face masks being used for medical purposes. What is your comment on that?

We are tracking cases reported by foreign media regarding the quality issue of Chinese epidemic prevention supplies. We found that it was another case of misunderstanding caused by incorrect operation and non-compliance with requirements of the contract, instead of real quality issues.

The Chinese government takes very seriously the quality and safety of export anti-epidemic supplies. On April 25, MOFCOM issued Notice No.12 together with the Chinese General Administration of Customs and the Chinese State Administration for Market Regulation. It strictly stipulates the quality requirements on the exported non-medical face masks, and sets clear requirements that the exported non-medical face masks shall not be used for medical purposes, the goal of which is to enhance quality supervision on non-medical face masks, so that end-users of foreign countries could make clear distinction between medical and non-medical face masks. At the same time, as primary market players, companies should shoulder their due responsibilities and obligations.

Notice No.12 requires a joint declaration to be signed by the exporter and importer of non-medical face masks. In the declaration, the importer confirms that the non-medical face masks purchased shall not be used for medical purposes, and reminds any third party of not using them for medical purposes. However, based on the feedbacks of some countries, some importers or third parties still confuse these two types of face masks, and this has led to the so-called quality issue around Chinese face masks.

On May 25, Minister of Commerce Zhong Shan expressed at the “Ministers’ Corridor” of the two sessions that “China exports both medical and non-medical face masks. Some foreign companies sent non-medical masks to hospitals and some of these masks were even used for clinical purposes, which could be rather dangerous. To our knowledge, these companies have already been punished by relevant authorities of their own countries. The responsibility lies with the importing party”.

In addition, there are some coverages by foreign media about the low accuracy of the exported Chinese test kits. We have noted such reports in Spain, India and other countries, making it a media hype. However, upon investigation, these problems were due to the fact that users confused between antibody tests kits and nucleic acid tests, or because of incorrect sampling method or inadequate sampling conditions.

In fact, a considerable quantities of Chinese test kits have been exported to Europe, Asia and Latin America, and with correct operation, have reached expected effect and gained positive appraisal. Stricken suddenly by this unexpected pandemic, with response and management measures of some countries being pushed to the limit, the panic situation comes only naturally. The so-called quality problem is more of an issue of negative emotion being vented on exporting companies due to lack of understanding of technical specifications of face masks, or inadequate information on the use of test kits”. CCCMHPIE has always been encouraging relevant companies to face up to the issue, actively communicate with overseas buyers to help them find problems and dispel misunderstandings.

Recently we learned that after re-evaluation of the capability and qualification of the Chinese suppliers, the Indian side has again accepted two Chinese companies into their qualified test kit supplier list, which demonstrates their confidence on the Chinese companies and trust in the quality of Chinese anti-epidemic supplies.

2. MOFCOM released two Notices successively together with other government departments to enhance quality supervision of Chinese companies, and disclose and punish those violation behaviors. Are these actions measures to disclose family skeleton?

Medical protective products have close bearing on human health. The attitude by the Chinese government is serious, clear and resolved. It releases two Notices successively in one month, which delivers a simple and clear-cut thinking on both governance and regulation, that is, to strictly secure export quality and hold trade conduct to strict regulation. At this special time of epidemic combat, we uphold the principle of putting lives and safety first to ensure the safety and efficacy of anti-epidemic exports. I believe that seriously handling and disclosing violation behaviors is a good example of the above efforts.

The supply of medical protective products is a highly regulated sector and each country has its own standards and inspection requirements. While countries have rather independent and different regulatory systems, China observes market rules and at the same time tries its utmost to encourage foreign companies to purchase products meeting their quality standards. On April 25, entrusted by MOFCOM, CCCMHPIE released online the white list of exporters (list of manufacturers with overseas certification or registration) and this list is updated by time, to increase pathways for the export of anti-epidemic supplies that come in a continuous stream. The list has become an guide for overseas purchase of Chinese anti-epidemic medical supplies. The number of visits on CCCMHPIE website saw an upsurge, and rose to 2.5 million daily the very next day after the release of the white list, making a record high.

As the lead government department, MOFCOM has always been working in coordination with other related government bodies to secure export quality and ensure compliance of export behaviors. We hope that with real actions, we could support the global fight against the pandemic, and deliver the medical supplies with care and warmth to the places in need to safeguard human health together. During this period of time, CCCMHPIE has been dedicated to guiding export order and emphasizing compliance with standards set by the importing country. Our companies have also done a lot in areas relating to quality assurance, compliant practices, product instructions and trainings. CCCMHPIE has, for several times, called on Chinese companies to act in accordance with market rules, comply with laws and regulatory requirements of all countries including China. Therefore, our support to the world’s combat against the pandemic is sincere and pragmatic, and our products carry a sense of warmth.


3. Contribution by China in supporting the global fight against the epidemic


A common enemy facing the humankind, the virus knows no border or race. With this pandemic, we now feel and understand deeply President Xi’s appeal for and concept of building a Community of Shared Destiny for Mankind. Having suffered from the epidemic, we share the feelings with countries still in the midst of it. While other countries are in dire need of support, we cannot stand idly or stay aloof from this.

On May 25, Minister of Commerce Zhong Shan expressed at the “Ministers’ Corridor” of the two sessions that “China did not restrict the export of anti-epidemic supplies and remains open”. Since the pandemic broke out, China has exported huge quantities of anti-epidemic supplies to 199 countries and regions, making important contribution to the global epidemic response. At present, China has rendered assistance to nearly 200 countries, regions and international organizations, and the number of face masks exported daily has exceeded 1 billion. According to statistics of the China Customs, between March 1st and May 16th, the value of medical supplies inspected and released totaled 134.4 billion RMB. Regarding the number of exported medical suppliers, there were 50.9 billion face masks, 216 million protective gowns, 162 million test kits, 72.7 thousand sets of ventilators and 26.43 million sets of infrared thermometers. Statistics show that the Chinese anti-epidemic supplies were mainly exported to the US, Germany, Japan, France and Italy.

China is a major producer and exporter of anti-epidemic supplies. At this critical moment of COVID-19 control and prevention, we have the responsibility and obligations to contribute to the global fight against the pandemic. Just as Minister Zhong Shan said, “China will, as always, continue to provide support to countries in need of anti-epidemic supplies”. I believe that efforts made by China to support the global combat not only rendered the kindness, gratitude and virtue of the Chinese nation. Moreover, it expressed our attitude and stance on forging international cooperation to safeguarding our common homeland.

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