Vietnam mulls scrapping import tariffs on face masks

By Anh Minh   February 5, 2020 | 07:42 pm PT
Vietnam mulls scrapping import tariffs on face masks
Workers manufacture masks at a factory in Hanoi. Photo by VnExpress/Anh Minh.
The Ministry of Finance has suggested scrapping import duties on face masks as Vietnam combats the new coronavirus epidemic.

Deputy Minister of Finance Vu Thi Mai said on Wednesday the proposal also extends to feedstock needed to make masks and liquid hand wash, which are also in short supply at the moment.

This ministry and the ministries of Industry and Trade and Health would list all the items on which tariffs should be cut and submit to the government for approval, she added.

Mask prices have been soaring across the country and drugstores are running out of supply as people seek protection from the nCoV, which has so far infected 10 people in the country.

Mask manufacturers are running at full capacity but are struggling to source feedstock since China has banned exports as it seeks to contain the spread of the deadly virus.

Some mask producers are considering importing from other countries such as India, whose prices are higher than China’s.

Vietnam has so far reported 10 cases of nCoV infection, three of whom have been declared healthy and discharged from hospital.

As of Thursday the epidemic had killed 565 people, mostly in mainland China, and infected more than 28,200.

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