A year and half ago when pandemic hit the US, hundreds of apparel manufacturers in the countries switched their production to produce vital PPE and help the US Government in their endeavours of safeguarding frontline workers.
However, as China gets back to normalcy and cheaper imports of PPE products increase unprecedentedly, the US PPE makers are either shutting down their operations or have already closed doors.
According to OTEXA, USA has imported US $ 10.68 billion worth of PPE products during Jan.-May ’21, noting 284 per cent surge on Y-o-Y basis.
Face mask and shield imports – under 6 HS Codes 3926909950, 6307909845, 6307909850, 6307909870, 6307909875, and 6307909891 – still remained one of the most sought PPE products by the US buyers, the value of which stood at US $ 2.07 billion in Jan.-May ’21 period.
China’s share in the face mask shipment was as high as US $ 1.41 billion that’s approximately 68.20 per cent of total face masks’ import value of USA.
On the other hand, during the first 5-month period of 2021, nonwoven disposable apparels contributed US $ 929.19 million of the total PPE import value under HS Code 6210105000 in which two types of products were imported – isolation gowns and disposable apparels.
Of total nonwoven disposable apparel imports, China’s contribution was US $ 717.95 million that is around 77.90 per cent share!
As China’s dominance in PPE shipment to USA is increasing, several reports say livelihood of the new US mask producers is at risk.
According to The Coalition for a Prosperous America (CPA), in last couple of months, as many as 1,500 workers were laid off at a Florida-based mask-maker, around 470 workers have lost their jobs in Honeywell which is an N-95-making plant in Rhode Island as also cited by Boston Globe, and another 200 at a company called Premium PPE in Virginia Beach.