SHANGHAI — China tightened restrictions on exports of masks and other personal protective equipment (PPE) on April 10th, calling for shipments of the items to be subjected to a mandatory customs inspection, with immediate effect.

The regulations, from China’s customs agency, require companies manufacturing PPE for export to submit extra documentation and go through a government-led inspection process. The extra documentation required is that products are approved and sold on the Chinese market and that all CE/FDA/NIOSH certifications are valid.

The new inspections could lengthen the approval process for shipments of the equipment by days or weeks.

Maggie Chen, who runs a Shenzhen-based consultancy that helps companies comply with import and export regulations, says that in the short term, the new regulations will further shrink the number of masks on the market and cause prices to increase.

How will this impact our clients?

First of all our suppliers already have the documentation needed for selling in China and all have active, valid CE/FDA/NIOSH certifications.

Secondly, our customs experts in China are highly experienced in handling the custom processes and finding the fastest way to get our products cleared and boarded, so we will be able to continue shipping with little or no delay.

However, we cannot control the prices. The number of manufacturers that are able to export has decreased and the demand has increased. This will lead to an increase in prices. Especially for products like N95 ventilators, nitrile gloves, medical-grade face masks, and medical-grade disinfection liquids.

New pricing structure

This means we no longer can have long-term, fixed prices. Effective today we will change to daily prices, which means our clients will have to contact us for a quotation for each purchase order. We will do all we can to keep the existing price level on all our products. But already overnight some prices changed.

We urge our clients to look ahead a little further than usual when estimating their needs. And placing orders a little earlier, to allow for slight delays in custom clearance.

Please contact your Eastwest Medico representative for more detailed information about prices and delivery.