New regulations on exporting goods from China are delaying much-needed medical supplies from getting to the United States.
Beijing placed new restrictions on medical supplies going out of the country earlier this month, ostensibly to ensure the quality of each unit, according to a review of private company and State Department memos by The Wall Street Journal. Countries have rejected thousands of masks, test kits, and other supplies from China for allegedly being defective and useless.
The new regulations have “disrupted established supply chains for medical products just as these products were most needed for the global response to Covid-19,” according to a State Department memo.
Memos show that U.S.-based companies are running into bottlenecks trying to fill orders for medical supplies in the United States from manufacturing plants in China. A shipment of 2.4 million masks owned by Virginia-based Owens & Minor Inc. is locked in a warehouse in Shanghai’s Pudong International Airport as it waits to clear Chinese inspections. Emory Healthcare, which operates 10 hospitals in Georgia, cannot receive its order of 100,000 N95 face masks and 40,000 isolation gowns until the Chinese regime approves their release.
China supplies 43% of the world’s imports of personal protective equipment, known as PPE, including masks, gloves, and medical garments. The United States is even more reliant on supply chains sourced in China, importing nearly half of all PPE in the U.S. through Beijing, according to the Peterson Institute of International Economics.
The global demand for medical supplies exploded in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, which originated in the Chinese city of Wuhan. The virus has torn through dozens of countries and effectively shut down most of the world’s economy. The origin of the virus has yet to be determined.
The outbreak of the pathogen, attempts by Beijing to cover up the disease, and massive quantities of useless aid sent throughout the world have left China’s international reputation in tatters.
The Chinese Communist Party is attempting to repair the damage by increasing the quality of medical goods while trying to meet a massive spike in demand for such goods, according to BioAktive Specialty Products founding partner Solomon Matzner.
“China’s between a rock and a hard place,” Matzner said. “They need to get as much product out as possible, but on the other hand, Chinese products are being criticized for quality.”
The increased regulations are causing jams and costly delays down the line. U.S. companies and government officials are growing critical of the regime as the need for PPE and test kits remains the same, while obtaining the supplies is becoming more difficult.
“Every single day we don’t have the proper protective equipment is a new health care worker exposed, is a new hole in the ship that is our current hospital system and ICU bed structure,” Illinois Deputy Gov. Christian Mitchell told WSJ. Mitchell, who is in charge of sourcing medical supplies for the state, added that a supplier said that shipments from China may be delayed for six to 10 days.