Employees work on a mask production line at a medical supplies company in Zaozhuang, Shandong province. (SUN ZHONGZHE / CHINA DAILY)
The United States is extending tariff exclusions on about 99 categories of medical products from China until Sept 30, to support the fight against COVID-19, the US Trade Representative office said on Wednesday.
The exclusion covers a wide range of items from medical masks and gloves to blood pressure cuff sleeves and X-ray tables. The earlier tariff exclusion extension on these medical products was set to lapse on March 31.
The US Trade Representative said,"In light of the continuing efforts to combat COVID-19, the US Trade Representative has determined that it is inappropriate to allow the exclusions for certain products to lapse."
In the Federal Register notice announcing the extension, the US Trade Representative said,"In light of the continuing efforts to combat COVID-19, the US Trade Representative has determined that it is inappropriate to allow the exclusions for certain products to lapse."
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Zhang Yansheng, chief researcher at Beijing-based China Center for International Economic Exchanges, said China is able to produce and export medical supplies to other countries because it has been taking strict and effective prevention and control measures against the disease, and thus is able to resume production and business activities fast and effectively.
"It is significant for China to step up production and supply protective masks and other materials that are needed by people in other countries," Zhang said.
China, one of the world's major mask and protective gear producers, has been stepping up production to meet overseas demand for related supplies, marking its contribution to the global fight against the pandemic.
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The Chinese authorities issued a new policy measure last March to ensure the quality of medical supply exports. Exporters of medical products including COVID-19 testing kits, medical masks, medical protective suits, ventilators and infrared thermometers are required to provide extra documentation containing a declaration that the products have been officially registered in China and meet the quality-control standards of respective export destinations.