Global demand for PPE, especially in U.S., fuels China's exports: WSJ

By Xia Lin
  • World
  • Sunday, 11 Oct 2020

NEW YORK, Oct. 10 (Xinhua) -- China's exports globally benefited both from its ability to reopen 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 on Saturday.

China posted a 9.5 percent 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 U.S. 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 U.S. Census data showed, a textile category of Chinese exports to the United States that includes face masks rose 156 percent in the first eight months of this year, and stripping out other items in the category shows cloth masks surged 465 percent in the period, the paper said in its report titled "Chinese Exports to U.S. 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 United States.

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

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

China's total exports to the United States were down by only 3.6 percent 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 U.S. jumped by 13 percent from a year earlier, followed by a 20 percent rise in August. September figures aren't out yet," the paper reported.

However, an expert cautioned against reading too much into the export momentum. In a September essay, Zhang Yanling, a researcher at the Chongyang Institute of Financial Studies, a Beijing-based think tank, wrote that the strong export was evidence of the resilience of the Chinese economy in the face of a pandemic, but called the future uncertain given the U.S.-China relationship, the paper reported.

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