China is not allowing American companies with factories in the country to ship desperately needed medical items like masks, gowns, and coronavirus test kits back to the US.
The State Department and several US-based Businesses told The Wall Street Journal on Thursday, April 16, that millions of test kits are stranded in warehouses in China, which has so far refused to clear them for export back to the US.
American companies operating in China are unable to import the critically needed supplies back to the states because the government in Beijing needs those high-quality items for their own efforts to stamp out the pandemic.
US companies like 3M and PerkinElmer have products stranded in warehouses.
3M, a US-based firm, is also having difficulty getting clearance from Beijing to ship urgently needed N-95 respirator masks, which are in short of supply among hospital staff around the country.
PerkinElmer Inc., a health technology firm based in the Boston suburb of Waltham Massachusetts, has been unable to ship 1.4 million test kits for COVID-19.
According to PerkinElmer’s website, the company has developed a ‘real-time’ test kit.
The kits are currently stranded in its factory in the Chinese city of Suzhou after the central government in Beijing imposed export restrictions requiring new certification procedures, according to the Journal.
China imposed export restrictions on American companies with products that have long been approved by the FDA because they are superior in quality to the masks, gowns, and other personal protective items made by domestic Chinese firms.
The new policy has ‘disrupted established supply chains for medical products just as these products were most needed for the global response to COVID-19.’When asked about the Chinese government’s export restrictions, China’s embassy in Washington, DC, said: ‘Countries across the world are all hunting for medical supplies, causing a big challenge for China’s efforts of quality control and regulation of export.’
China required companies seeking to ship out the items to first obtain certification from the National Medical Products Administration.