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On March 28, in Buying Face Masks and Other PPE from China: Not For the Faint of Heart, we wrote about the difficulties inherent in buying PPE from China. On April 2, in Buying Face Masks and Other PPE from China Just Got a LOT Tougher, we wrote about how China’s new Order 5 had just severely limited who can export PPE from China and how that would make securing PPE from China that much tougher. On April 10, in How to Buy PPE from China Without Getting Ripped Off, we talked about the increasing risks of dealing with scammers and fakes. On April 14, in China PPE: Just When You Thought it Might be Safe to Go into the Water, we wrote about how China’s new Announcement 53 would even further reduce the PPE allowed to leave China.
If you don’t see the trend, let me make it crystal clear: buying PPE and getting that PPE out of China gets riskier pretty much by the day and today is no exception.
When China’s Announcement 53 came out, a number of people (clients included) told our China PPE lawyers that they’d heard that announcement had been revoked or stricken. We could find no evidence of that and we chalked this rumor up to PPE sellers who did not want their buyers and potential buyers to be scared off. The Chinese government officials were mostly telling us that they were unaware of anything countermanding the Announcement.
For us China lawyers, all this meant we would need to do what we’ve always done with China when a new law, regulation, order or announcement comes out — waiting to see what its impact will be in the real world. We’ve dealt with similar legal issues at least 100 times when it comes to China and our usual advise to our clients is that they wait a few weeks to see what happens and then they either move forward with their deal or not, all depending on what actually happened. That is logical and actionable advice to clients buying your ordinary widgets, but that is not terribly helpful advice for clients that need life-saving Protective Personal Equipment NOW.
What we are doing for these PPE clients is giving them the updated information as quickly as we can get it and the below is what we know so far. I will though do something we have virtually never done on here previously: throw out all sorts of caveats. First caveat. The picture we are getting is super recent and may or may not be representative of what is actually happening. We are getting this information from people we know and trust and so we believe what they are telling us, but they too are seeing only a small part of the big picture and they might just be wrong. But at this point — and with time being of the essence — even preliminary information is better than no information at all. The below is what we are hearing.
China customs is cracking down like never before on PPE leaving China. This means they have plenty of people checking to make sure that the manufacturing company is licensed to make the PPE product to be shipped and that the company exporting the PPE product is authorized to export that PPE product that the PPE product to be shipped has been correctly described in all of the customs paperwork and that the PPE product is of good quality and even that the PPE product can be exported to the particular country to which it is going and can be imported into that particular country.
If your PPE does not qualify under all of the above — no matter when you bought it — it will get blocked from leaving China.
This means if you want your future PPE orders to get through China customs you need to be certain of the following:
- The company that is manufacturing the PPE product you will be buying from China is licensed to make that product.
- The company that is exporting your PPE product from China is authorized to export that product from China. Note: Many PPE items that did not have this requirement a week ago have that requirement now
- Your paperwork is perfect.
- Your PPE product is of good quality and not counterfeit.
- The country to which the PPE product can legally be sent that particular PPE product from China and can legally receive it.