A US company that produced masks and protective gear during a novel coronavirus pandemic is on the verge of bankruptcy following a sharp drop in sales due to imports from China.
Industry experts point out that the prices of Chinese products are so low that it is almost impossible for domestic companies to compete, and many companies have already started to lay off their employees.
The owners of these companies warn that if the United States faces a national health emergency again, its consequences could be devastating for the United States.
The New York Times reported that at least three companies have stopped producing surgical masks and medical gowns.
Industry experts point out that the prices of Chinese products are so low that it is almost impossible for domestic companies to compete, and many have already laid off their workers.
A year ago, the Virginia surgical mask maker laid off most of its 280 employees and was forced to cut production.
Brent Dillie, part owner of a company called Premium PPE, told the New York Times:
“Six months from now, many of us will be away, and the next time a national health emergency strikes, it won’t be good for America.”
At the start of the pandemic, many start-ups, including Premium-PP, point out that healthcare professionals are likely to contribute to the high infection rate of protective equipment for frontline workers. Intervened to deal with a dangerous shortage.
China stopped exporting protective clothing at the start of the pandemic, but then returned to the market, but prices could be only a tenth of the price currently charged by US factories for comparable products. is there.
The Biden administration is currently under pressure to provide adequate protection for healthcare workers in the event of a new crisis in the United States.
Luis Argero Jr., vice president of DmeTech, a Florida medical suturing company that laid off 1,500 workers making surgical masks earlier this month, appears in the factory.
DemeTech is concerned that the other 500 employees who make N95 masks will also be made redundant in the coming weeks.
A year-long study by The Guardian and Kaiser Health News found that more than 3,600 U.S. healthcare workers died in the pandemic’s first year, titled Lost on the FrontLine.
Many of these deaths could have been prevented, according to a series of research reports, and the widespread shortage of masks and other personal protective equipment is one of the main factors contributing to the increased risk faced by workers in the industry. health. Identified.
White House Covid-19 supply coordinator Tim Manning says the government is tackling the challenges domestic PPE producers face, but companies have a more substantial trade policy to survive. He says supply chain reform is needed.
Earlier this month, the CDC updated its recommendations, saying fully vaccinated Americans do not need to wear masks outside and inside in most situations.
Unvaccinated people are still at risk and must wear masks and maintain their social distance.
In the United States, masks are still required for planes, buses, trains, other public transportation, and transportation hubs such as airports and train stations.
Demand for protective clothing has plummeted due to easing mask requirements, but the influx of cheap Chinese gear is even more serious, according to industry insiders.
The American Mask Manufacturers Association, a trade group, told the New York Times that 27 members had already laid off half of their employees.
The group will file an unfair trade complaint with the World Trade Organization (WTO), claiming that many equipment imported from China is sold at a price lower than the cost of production in the United States.
The mask is produced by a United Safety Tech startup. At the start of the pandemic, many start-ups intervened to address the lack of protective equipment for frontline workers.
Workers working at a medical mask and coveralls factory in Nantong, Jiangsu Province, China, in January 2020, China exported more than 220 billion face masks last year
China exported more than 220 billion face masks in 2020, making it the only major economy in the world to grow last year.
In January, Commerce Secretary Qian Keming told reporters that China exported 2.3 billion protective equipment and 1 billion test kits in addition to masks last year.
According to customs officials, the shipment of masks alone was worth 340 billion yuan (38.5 billion pounds). Customs spokesman Lee Kuiwen said, “(the amount) is equivalent to providing nearly 40 masks to one person in a world other than China.”
Luis Argero Jr., vice president of Florida medical suturing company DemeTech, described the influx of cheap Chinese products as “all-out economic war.”
Earlier this month, 1,500 employees who made DmeTech’s surgical masks were laid off, and another 500 employees who made N95 masks could be laid off within weeks.
He told the New York Times, “China’s mission is to prevent anyone in the industry from surviving, and so far they have won.
US mask makers struggle to survive as China floods market with cheap equipment
Source link US mask makers struggle to survive as China floods the market with cheap equipment