Vietnam’s Medical Mask Exports Surge in May

Vietnam’s exports of medical masks surged in May. With the EU-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement (EVFTA) coming into effect in August, exports are expected to increase further. However, Vietnamese medical supplies, including medical masks, do not meet EU quality standards, making them an issue for exports.

According to the Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO), over 150 Vietnamese companies exported a total of 181.54 million medical masks in May 2020, which is 1.3 times greater than the cumulative total of 139.50 million exported during January-April 2020. (no details given on export destinations) The export restrictions implemented to meet domestic demand were lifted at the end of April, allowing free exports.

Currently, EU imposed 6-12% tariffs on imports of medical masks, but when EVFTA comes into effect in August, and hopes for exporting to the EU will increase. Vietnamese companies can mass produce medical masks, while EU nations are still in dire need of medical supplies to combat the coronavirus.

However, Vietnamese masks do not meet EU quality standards. The CE Mark is required for exports to the EU. Because of urgent demands for medical masks, imports of masks without the CE Mark are temporarily allowed, but the situation will eventually get tougher.