China says masks sold to Netherlands are for non-medical use
Workers make face masks at the workshop of a company in Wuhan, central China's Hubei Province, January 28, 2020. /Xinhua

Workers make face masks at the workshop of a company in Wuhan, central China's Hubei Province, January 28, 2020. /Xinhua

The Chinese Foreign Ministry on Thursday denied claims that there are quality problems with face masks purchased by the Netherlands from China, saying the masks are for non-medical use only. 

Hua Chunying, a spokesperson of the ministry, made the remarks at a regular press briefing, noting that China always attaches great importance to the quality of exports. 

The comments were made in response to recent reports by some European media outlets that some masks purchased by the Netherlands from China amid the COVID-19 pandemic do not meet quality standards. 

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Citing findings of initial investigations by the Chinese authorities, Hua said those masks had been purchased by Dutch agency companies, adding Chinese enterprises had informed the Dutch side before shipment that they are non-medical masks. 

"The export customs-clearance procedures were also carried out in the name of 'non-medical masks'," she noted. 

"In the current global situation of fighting the pandemic, China overcomes its own difficulties to meet the urgent needs of other countries for supplies. Some Chinese enterprises are running at full steam around the clock to provide various anti-epidemic materials to the international community," she stressed. 

The spokesperson said relevant Chinese authorities have just issued stricter supervision measures, requiring export enterprises of relevant medical materials to provide written or electronic statements during customs declaration that the export products have obtained China's medical goods/devices registration certificates and meet the quality standards or requirements of the importing country or region. 

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Masks have different protection standards and levels – some are for medical use while others for everyday protection, Hua said. 

"We kindly remind users to carefully check the use and instructions of the products and whether they meet the standards of the purchasers before purchasing and using them, so as to avoid making mistakes in emergencies and mistakenly using non-medical masks for medical use," she said. 

It is irresponsible for some media to hype up the so-called quality problems of Chinese anti-epidemic products before making clear the facts, she stressed, saying such actions are not conducive to international anti-epidemic cooperation. 

(With input from Xinhua)