Domestic demand must be met before Taiwan exports masks: MOEA

Country is currently pumping out 18 to 19 million masks daily

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(CNA photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Before Taiwan can begin exporting masks to other countries amid the Wuhan coronavirus pandemic, domestic demand must first be satisfied, Ministry of Economic Affairs (MOEA) Deputy Chief Wang Mei-hua (王美花) said during a report at the Legislative Yuan on Monday afternoon (5/18).

According to MOEA statistics, Taiwan currently has a daily production capacity of 18 to 19 million masks, with one day last week breaking the 20 million mark, CNA reported.

Domestic manufacturers have also purchased two additional machines that will help produce raw materials for masks. These are expected to go online by the end of June, which will increase the country’s daily output to more than 25 million masks.

During Monday’s legislative briefing, KMT Legislator Yang Chiung-ying (楊瓊瓔) pointed out that before masks are exported, local demand should be met first.

In response, Wang Mei-hua said that meeting domestic demand would remain a priority.

Taiwan currently has a ban on the export of face masks that went into effect on Jan. 24.

Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) head Chen Shih-chung (陳時中) said on Sunday (May 17) that mask exports are inevitable and should be started sooner rather than later.