In response to alleged quality issues involving some Chinese firms' mask exports to the Netherlands, Chinese officials on Thursday said an initial investigation revealed the masks were purchased by Dutch agencies, and Chinese mask-makers had made it clear to their Dutch clients prior to shipment, that the masks were intended for non-medical use.
"The products were also listed as 'non-medical masks' at customs," China's Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying said at a press briefing on Thursday.
The comments came after some media in the Netherlands reported the Dutch government had asked its hospitals to return 600,000 face masks it imported from China. Some Dutch media claim the masks are faulty as they fail to meet safety requirements for frontline physicians and nurses.
China'sMinistry of Commerce(MOFCOM) said on Thursday that the masks purchased by Dutch clients are intended for personal protection rather than medical use at hospitals.
"Non-medical masks cannot be used for medical purposes. Medical staff in intensive care units cannot use them," Liu Changyu, a MOFCOM official, told the Global Times at an online press briefing.
Some media outlets which hyped the quality issues involving Chinese medical product exports without verifying the facts, are irresponsible, which is not conducive to international cooperation on COVID19 prevention, Hua noted.
"We hope such reporting does not have ulterior motivations," Hua said, while urging foreign countries to carefully examine the categories and instructions of their medical equipment purchases, so as to avoid hospitals mistakenly using them.
Liu also suggested that both Chinese exporters and foreign importers should settle issues through negotiation.
Hua said Chinese companies have been working day and night to supply necessary medical products to the world in the face of an unprecedented pandemic, and China, as always, has paid great attention to the quality of its exports.
She pointed to a new policy for China's medical exports effective Wednesday. To strengthen supervision over the quality of medical exports, China as of Wednesday requires all medical products to obtain a certificate from Chinese regulators before export, according to a statement released by the Chinese National Medical Products Administration (NMPA) on Tuesday.
Previously, Chinese companies could export medical products if they had the appropriate foreign certificates, like those issued by the US Food and Drug Administration or the EU, which issues CE certificates.