Taiwan relaxes ban on face mask exports

Export of cloth masks without air filter allowed starting March 12: MOEA

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A collection of face masks 

A collection of face masks  (CNA photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Beginning Thursday (March 12), the export of cloth face masks will be allowed, according to the Ministry of Economic Affairs (MOEA).

The ban on mask exports has been seen as a successful way of providing sufficient face masks to the Taiwanese public as the Wuhan coronavirus (COVID-19) expands. As Taiwanese factories have ramped up their production, and the masks have become more widely available, the MOEA has decided to relax the export ban, according to the Liberty Times.

From March 12 through April 30, masks made out of cloth and not equipped with an air filter can be exported, the MOEA and the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) agreed.

In order to facilitate the export of the masks, exporters will not be asked to apply for a special export license from the ministry, but they will have to provide customs with a letter of guarantee, the Liberty Times reported.

The main beneficiaries of the liberalization is expected to be Taiwanese citizens living overseas, as these would be able to receive masks from their relatives and friends on the island.

Daily production of masks in Taiwan reached 9.2 million this week, with a target of 10.3 million a day for next week and 13 million for the month of April. Residents can pick up three masks per person per week at registered pharmacies, with children allowed five per week. A new online system for ordering masks will kick off on Thursday (March 12), making it even more convenient to obtain the items.