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Chinese regulatory issues delay international medical supply shipments for fourth day

Chinese regulatory issues delay international medical supply shipments for fourth day
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Chinese regulatory issues have caused delays for international shipments of critical personal protective equipment (PPE) for the fourth straight day, The New York Times reported.

The problems stem from a new policy issued by China's General Administration of Customs last week that mandated officials inspect every shipment of N95 respirators, ventilators and other PPE for any potential quality problems before they are exported.

The policy came in response to complaints from several European countries about problems with some of the supplies being imported from China amid the coronavirus outbreak. The pandemic has caused mass shortages of medical equipment around the world.

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China's customs administration had previously barred factories without official medical certification from shipping supplies internationally. The customs agency is now mandating that all medical supplies be inspected and reside in a factory with certification. 

The customs agency’s spokesman, Li Kuiwen, declined to address the matter on Tuesday, saying that "more interpretation of these regulations will be given by China Customs at relevant news conferences," the Times noted. 

The regulations have reportedly caused delays for millions of masks, respirators and ventilators set to be shipped to the U.S. and other countries. 

The delays come while leaders around the world warn of medical equipment shortages as they deal with a surge in patients being treated for COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus.

Governors and other state officials have repeatedly noted that the a lack of equipment has forced them to compete with other local governments and countries for protective equipment. 

Department of Health and Human Services officials told House lawmakers last week that the emergency stockpile of PPE is depleted and that states would stop receiving shipments of it.

White House trade adviser Peter Navarro said Sunday that equipment shortages were directly linked to the reliance on overseas manufacturing

"We wouldn’t be having this problem if we had the domestic production of essential medicines, medical supplies like masks and medical equipment like ventilators," he said in an interview with CBS's "60 Minutes."