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Taiwan mask export ban to be lifted on 6/1

Mask manufacturers already have foreign orders waiting

Surgical masks produced in Taiwan.

Surgical masks produced in Taiwan. (CNA photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Taiwan is preparing to lift the ban on mask exports beginning June 1, according to Ministry of Economic Affairs Deputy Minister Wang Mei-hua (王美花).

The government will requisition 8 million masks a day starting on June 1. The remaining masks will then be open for domestic purchase or export, CNA reported.

The Ministry of Economic Affairs is also planning to meet with mask manufacturers on Tuesday (5/26) to discuss how requisition orders will work and how to coordinate among producers.

Wang, who also serves as the Central Epidemic Command Center's (CECC) materials acquisition head, said that mask sales between May 7 and May 20 from pharmacies and local health departments averaged 5.7 million a day, while sales from convenience stores and other channels averaged 1.27 million, meaning total daily demand among the public is around 6.97 million.

Wang said that after adding in masks used by healthcare workers, civil servants and industrial workers, Taiwan's daily demand does not exceed 10 million. She also said as the outbreak continues to stabilize and the weather starts to warm up, demand will decline even further.

She also said that the 8 million masks to be requisitioned per day are reasonable considering the government currently has between 200 to 300 million masks stockpiled.

Wang also mentioned that Taiwan's daily production capacity of 20 million masks is currently possible due to help from the national army. Once they return back to their original duties, production capacity is expected to decline, unless manufacturers hire more workers.

According to Wang, many mask manufacturers already have foreign orders for Taiwan made masks. She said that all the official documents for lifting the export ban are ready and will be issued once the CECC gives its final approval.