Containers are stacked at the port in Qingdao, in China's eastern Shandong province. PHOTO: AFP/FILE

China eases restrictions on exports of some coronavirus equipment

Ban vexed medical device firms in cities of Hangzhou and Shenzhen, who tried to seek help from governments

Reuters April 25, 2020
BEIJING: China is dropping a requirement that a number of key virus care products get domestic regulatory approval before export, as long as they are approved in the importing countries, the commerce ministry said on Saturday.

China had been stipulating such extra approval at home since the end of March after several European countries complained that Chinese-made test kits were inaccurate, in effect hampering many firms’ efforts to supply global efforts against the coronavirus pandemic.

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The new ruling applies to products such as coronavirus tests, medical masks, protective suits, infrared thermometers and ventilators.

“Tonight’s new rule is a revision to (the older rule),” said Zhang Shuwen, the CEO of Liming Bio-products, a biotech firm offering coronavirus tests targeting the overseas market. “It’s wrong to have a one-size-fits-all policy...”

“Each country may have different criteria for medicines and medical devices. The priority is to meet the requirement in the countries where the product will be sold, instead of where the product is made,” Zhang said.

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The previous ban vexed medical device firms in the cities of Hangzhou and Shenzhen, who tried to seek help from local governments, Zhang added.

Many countries around the world have been scrambling to buy or make enough personal protective equipment for medical staff and care workers at risk of infection, and also tests to trace contagion and identify people who can leave quarantine.

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