Vietnam had shipped 415.7 million cloth masks, fine dust masks, and two-layer fiber masks worth US$63.2 million in the year to April 19, according to General Department of Vietnam Customs.
|Vietnam is poised to be a potential exporter of face masks. Photo: Dan Tri|
Japan was the largest importer, buying 32.7 million masks, followed by South Korea, Germany, the US, Hong Kong, Singapore, Poland, and Australia.
Vietnam, with annual garment exports of US$39 billion, is poised to become a leading of face mask exporter. Over the past time, Vietnamese textile and garment companies have received orders from the US and Europe due to the spread of the Covid-19 pandemic.
According to the Ministry of Industry and Trade, some 50 firms are capable of producing eight million anti-bacterial cloth masks per day.
Earlier, Vietnamese firms were restricted from exporting all their surgical face masks as the government prioritized national reserves. However, the restrictions have been lifted.
Vietnam’s Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc has approved a plan on exporting surgical masks, Covid-19 drugs, and medical equipment after the country confirmed no coronavirus cases in the community for two weeks.
As per a request by the National Steering Committee on Covid-19 Prevention and Control, exporters are eligible to export surgical masks without a quota on quantity and conditions of export.
|Vietnam's face mask production chains are modern. Photo: Dantri|
The exporters are required to produce good quality products for export to “preserve the national prestige.”
Economist Vo Tri Thanh reminded local makers of China’s low-quality face masks that faced lawsuits by European countries. “Vietnamese producers must be aware of the national prestige in making this kind of product,” VnExpress cited the economist.
Carlyle A. Thayer, Emeritus Professor, the University of New South Wales (UNSW) at the Australian Defense Force Academy, said that Vietnam can see an opportunity to supply high-quality masks to the world market while a number of Chinese masks and medical devices are being returned.
Since the start of the pandemic, Vietnam has donated millions of face masks to a number of countries including China, the US, the UK, Russia, several other European countries, Myanmar, in addition to a large volume of face masks and medical supplies to the neighboring countries of Laos and Cambodia.
Thayer said Vietnam’s actions are consistent with its actions in the past when countries encounter natural disasters. Vietnam’s assistance is primarily symbolic and shows solidarity. In other words, Vietnam wants to be recognized as a responsible international citizen, RFI reported.
Its actions have been highly appreciated by recipient countries who consider Vietnam “a friend in need is a friend indeed.”