Why are medical masks blocking the export road?

Khau Trang Y Te

The mechanism of purchasing and purchasing reserves is not based on market prices, and the unified export policy is causing medical masks to “block” the way to the world.

Mr. Le Hai Trong – Chairman of Danameco Health Joint Stock Corporation (DNM) said that every day, he received dozens of calls to order medical masks from foreign partners. But he did not dare to accept any orders because it was not clear what the export policy would be like.

Currently, the Prime Minister has allowed the export on the principle of ensuring sufficient domestic demand, but according to businesses, even if this criterion is met, the export is not easy.

Enterprises like Danameco have invested dozens of additional production lines to increase production capacity. Particularly, this enterprise has invested 100 production lines of medical masks, nearly 10 production lines of filter cloth to increase the daily production capacity to 7 million medical masks and 1 million N95 masks from May 15.

Mr. Truong Thanh Hoai – Director of the Department of Industry (Ministry of Industry and Trade) also said that medical masks “clogged” the export route not due to the production capacity of enterprises, but by the current difficult regulations.

In addition, the health sector has just purchased a national reserve of more than 46.1 million of the 60 million to prevent epidemics. “The health sector should speed up the purchase at competitive bids to cover the shortage and then allow businesses to export unlimited items,” said the director of the Department of Industry .

Up to now, the Ministry of Health has still refused to answer the reasons why it cannot speed up the reserve purchasing activities . But, the mechanism for purchasing preventive equipment is still under the method of appointing low-price bid despite the skyrocketing market price , which can be a bottleneck.

The chairman of a business said the price of imported machinery and equipment for imported masks has tripled in the past. At the same time, production materials also increased 4-5 times for nonwovens, and filters increased 20 times. But the State buys a reserve mask based on the old price, which is too low, 2-3 times less than the production cost.

“Even before banning export, we did not dare to export any one because we wanted to give priority to serving in the country. The supply price for medical facilities was only around VND 2,000, while the actual market price was VND 5,000-7,000. one piece, “he said.

He also said, having participated in many meetings with the authorities, but no agency has set the market price of medical masks is how much to bid competitive. And before pricing, stockpiling of this item is still difficult.

Due to the low number of medical masks and epidemic prevention kits under the reserve plan, the Ministry of Finance recommends that the health sector accelerate the purchase by competitive bidding with the shortest time possible.

At the latest draft amending and supplementing Resolution 20 on export of medical masks, the Ministry of Health still provides binding conditions, enterprises are only allowed to export if they have sold or had written support agreements for health facilities have at least 20% of the estimated export volume. This provision does not apply to outsourcing businesses for foreign traders, with contracts signed before 1/3.

Explaining to VnExpress , the leader of the Ministry of Health said that the proposal was in principle to ensure sufficient demand for Covid-19 prevention when the disease was unpredictable. This agency is collecting comments from ministries and agencies to summarize and report to the Government.

The 20% control rate is considered by the Ministry of Industry and Trade to be too high, but a representative of the Ministry of Health said that this condition was made on the basis of calculating and synthesizing production and supply data of domestic enterprises and request to buy a sufficient quantity of medical gauze reserve for epidemic prevention and combat according to the plan assigned by the Prime Minister.

However, there will be a “soft” mechanism when the translation is well controlled, sufficient reserves are purchased, and enterprises can export without restriction. “Here we calculate to achieve a dual goal just enough for the national reserve to prevent and export rather than restrict or ban,” he said.

However, the Ministry of Health and other ministries and industries commented that the conditions for exporting medical masks were not reasonable. According to the Ministry of Industry and Trade, this regulation is difficult to implement because not all businesses can sign contracts to sell to health facilities in a short time. Not to mention the fact that health facilities do not have the need to buy or can only buy in small quantities and the bidding or negotiation and signing of contracts cannot be completed immediately, it will be even more difficult to implement.

“Requiring enterprises to produce documents announcing the winning bid will not meet the Prime Minister’s request to create favorable conditions for enterprises to export medical masks,” Deputy Minister of Industry and Trade Tran Quoc Khanh stated. in the text to the Ministry of Health.

Agreeing, the Ministry of Finance also said that, in order to have a sales contract of at least 20% of the output for domestic medical facilities, businesses had to bid a lot of time and be unsuitable in the spirit of “taking advantage of opportunities. “. Not to mention, this ministry will not be able to manage. Enterprises can open many declarations for export at many different customs sub-departments, only need to show documents as prescribed, still be allowed to export this ratio.

“It is necessary to fully assess the production capacity of the enterprise. If it is ensured that the purchase is sufficient in quantity, the exportation must be allowed without any conditions attached,” the Ministry of Finance proposed.

Therefore, according to the Ministry of Industry and Trade, enterprises should be granted unlimited export licenses, but must commit to be ready to provide at least 10% of production capacity when mobilized. Enterprises that produce documents proving they have participated in the sale or support of masks for medical establishments with at least 10% will be exempt from the above requirement. And when anti-epidemic requirements in the country increased, the Ministry of Health has the right to limit the number of licenses or stop licensing.

Leaders of a business producing medical masks and epidemic prevention equipment in the North said that the caution of health authorities when setting export conditions is easy to understand when there is a massive business phenomenon. produce masks, quality is not verified.

He said that the market is gathering the production material for export only. Many units “spleen” in the direction of hiring manufacturing workshops to ensure quality. The number of tens of millions of medical masks that have not been confiscated has shown that it is necessary to have strict quality regulations on production facilities and enterprises. This helps to avoid discrediting the nation, as the case of a series of Chinese face masks orders were returned by Europe.

However, he said that should not be controlled in proportion to the amount of goods exported. Instead, tight control of production quality is more important.

“Now is a very good opportunity for reputable production enterprises to export when European and American countries also want to ‘exit China’ and Vietnam has a chance to be a replacement manufacturer. waiting for a clear and timely decision from the competent authority “, Chairman of Danameco said.

Source vnExpress-27/04/2020