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Countries (73) put restrictions on exports of face masks

A total of 73 countries highlighted bans or restrictions on the export of face masks, used to face the worldwide Covid-19 pandemic, according to data from the World Trade Organization (WTO).

The use of masks helps to reduce the transmission of respiratory viruses, including the coronavirus, but its use is not sufficient if it is not accompanied by other measures such as hand hygiene. The use of masks when not necessary can cause an unnecessary increase in costs and a false sense of security that leads to the neglect of other measures.

Number of countries and separate customs territories introducing export prohibitions and restrictions, by category of product (as of 22 April 2020)

The Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) recommends offering masks (also known as surgical masks or face masks) with a piece that can be adapted to the nose to people who consult for respiratory symptoms during their stay in waiting rooms or their transfers in the facilities of the services and during their stay in cohort areas of suspected or confirmed patients.

Masks and exports

These products must have high resistance to fluids, good breathability, the internal and external faces must be clearly identified, and their structured design that does not collapse against the mouth

A briefing note by the WTO Secretariat on April 23, 2020 estimated that 80 separate countries and customs territories (of which eight were not WTO members) had introduced export prohibitions or restrictions in the context of the pandemic of coronavirus.

According to an analysis by the European Parliament, while most of the measures related to medical supplies, 14 WTO members and three observers also imposed measures on food products.

Although all these measures should in principle be notified, the WTO notes the low number of notifications. Therefore, Kyrgyzstan has sent three notifications on food export restrictions (wheat, rice, etc.), North Macedonia (wheat and wheat flour) and Thailand (eggs).

According to the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) Food Trade Restrictions Tracker, as of May 25, 2020, 11 countries apply binding active restrictions on food exports, including Kazakhstan (buckwheat, sugar , etc.), Russia (wheat, rye, barley, etc.) and Ukraine (buckwheat, buckwheat grain).

 

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