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China taps india for masks, exporters unsure

Chinese exporters said there is a need for around two million masks and the Indian mission in Hong Kong has sought a list of manufacturers in India who can provide these masks. However, exporters are unsure about India meeting this demand because India itself is a huge importer of surgical masks from China, Malaysia and Thailand.

, ET Bureau|
Last Updated: Jan 29, 2020, 07.05 AM IST
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New Delhi: Indian exporters have received at least 15 enquiries in the last week from China and Hong Kong including the Wuhan province — the epicentre of coronavirus outbreak — to export surgical masks.

Exporters said there is a need for around two million masks and the Indian mission in Hong Kong has sought a list of manufacturers in India who can provide these masks. “In the last one week, there have been many inquiries, at least 15-20 from many provinces in China including Chengdu,” said Ajay Sahai, director general, Federation of Indian Export Organisations (FIEO).

“We will give them the list of manufacturers of N-95 and other masks,” said Udaya Bhaskar, Director General, Pharmaceutical Export Promotion Council.

However, exporters are unsure about India meeting this demand. While a Delhi-based exporter said that India has the capacity, a Hyderabad-based exporter was not so optimistic as India itself is a huge importer of surgical masks from China, Malaysia and Thailand.

India imported $1.18 billion of instruments and appliances used in medical, surgical, dental and veterinary sciences in the April-November period against $1.76 billion in 2018-19. Most of the imports were from the US, China and Germany.

The exports of these products were $648.51 million in the first eight months of the fiscal mostly to China, the US and Germany.
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