Taiwan to ship Australia 3 tons of fabric to make face masks

Australia will provide 1 million liters of alcohol for disinfectant, Taiwan to send 3 metric tons of mask fabric

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Australian and Taiwanese flags. (gettyimages)

Australian and Taiwanese flags. (gettyimages)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Taiwan and Australia have reached an agreement in which the two countries will exchange raw materials desperately needed to battle the Wuhan coronavirus (COVID-19), announced the Ministry of Economic Affairs (MOEA) on Monday (March 30).

On its Facebook page on Monday, the MOEA announced that Taiwan and Australia have agreed to cooperate on fighting the COVID-19 pandemic. Australia has pledged to provide Taiwan with 1 million liters of alcohol which can be used to produce 4.2 million 300 milliliter bottles containing 75 percent alcohol to be used as a disinfectant.

In exchange, Taiwan will offer Australia 3 metric tons of non-woven fabric to produce surgical masks once Taiwan has reached sufficient domestic production capacity. That same day, Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) spokeswoman Joanne Ou (歐江安) said that Australia has been purchasing the raw materials to make masks for many years, while about 90 percent of Taiwan's alcohol supply comes from Australia, reported Liberty Times.

Ou said that in this time of desperate shortages of epidemic prevention and medical supplies, Taiwan and Australia can join forces to combat the disease. She said that the two countries would provide each other with the raw materials at preferential prices.

Ou called Australia an important regional partner of Taiwan, as the two countries share universal values such as freedom and democracy, rule of law, and human rights. Ou said that since the coronavirus outbreak began, the two countries have maintained close cooperation, adding that they look forward to an early end to the epidemic and will continue to deepen their bilateral partnership and trade.

The latest agreement comes less than two weeks after Taiwan's Foreign Minister Joseph Wu (吳釗燮) announced a Taiwan-U.S. joint statement in which the two sides agreed to step up their cooperation on the development of drugs and vaccines to battle the coronavirus. As part of the agreement, Taiwan pledged to donate 100,000 face masks per week to the U.S., while the U.S. is reserving materials for 300,000 hazmat suits for Taiwan.