Thursday December 30th 2021
Imported goods from China cheaper
Paris forces clinics to buy EU masks
A decree by the French government could help the domestic mask industry up: Hospitals are now instructed to buy medical masks in France or at least in Europe. Imported goods from China, however, are two to three times cheaper.
In the future, French hospitals should buy medical masks and disposable gloves in the country or at least in Europe if possible. A government circular, which has only just been published, was sent to the regional authorities responsible for the hospital infrastructure in mid-December. Medical institutions are therefore encouraged to pay attention not only to the price, but above all to the quality of the material when shopping.
In the letter, the government called for the focus not only on quality controls and compliance with European standards but also on the carbon footprint in production, water consumption and delivery times. In the case of frequent violations of the requirements, “severe penalties” should be considered. The requirements apply “with immediate effect for all public health facilities and public procurement agencies”.
Since the beginning of the corona pandemic, the French industry has massively increased its production capacities for surgical and FFP2 masks: from 3.5 million masks per week to around 100 million, of which 20 to 25 percent are FFP2 masks. Nevertheless, between summer 2020 and summer 2021, around 97 percent of public procurement contracts were covered by imports, complained the head of the F2M industry association, Christian Curiel.
Logistical problems with the import
The responsible authorities continued to rely on “cheaper, but qualitatively different imports,” said Curiel. As a result, in France “from April to the beginning of November the production of FFP2 masks practically came to a standstill”. Since then, orders from French manufacturers have increased again due to logistical problems with imports. According to Curiel, masks made in France are “two to three times more expensive” than those imported from China.
Parisians in particular will have significantly more opportunities to wear masks from New Year’s Eve: mask requirements will apply on the streets of the capital from December 31st. The local authorities said the reason is the sharp increase in new corona infections. If the new directive is violated, a fine of 135 euros will be due. In France there is already a mask requirement in public buildings and means of transport.