China exported more than 220 billion face masks last year, the Commerce Department said on Friday, the equivalent of nearly 40 per person outside of China, as demand for protective equipment skyrocketed during the coronavirus pandemic.
The shift in cover worth billions of dollars has become a major driver of China’s exports after Covid-19 virtually ceased economic activity and devastated growth in early 2020.
On Friday, Deputy Trade Minister Qian Keming told reporters that in addition to masks, China exported 2.3 billion protective equipment and one billion test kits last year “to make an important contribution to the global fight against the epidemic.”
The mask shipments alone were valued at 340 billion yuan (US $ 52.6 billion), a customs official said earlier this month.
“(The volume) is equivalent to providing nearly 40 masks to every person in the world outside of China,” said customs spokesman Li Kuiwen.
China, where Covid-19 first surfaced in late 2019, was also the first country to recover after imposing strict lockdown and virus control measures.
It is expected to be the only major global economy to see positive growth in 2020.
On Friday, Trade Minister Chu Shijia added that China is still facing a “difficult and complex” environment for foreign trade and investment this year.
(Except for the headline, this story was not edited by GossipMantri staff and posted from a syndicated feed.)