You’ll remember at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, China blocked exports of its PPE, including N95s. Meanwhile, the U.S. had little-to-no production capabilities because we had become entirely reliant on imports. It was so hard to find N95s that doctors and nurses on the frontlines were reusing masks on their shifts.
Companies like ours stepped up. We worked hard to create an American-made product that wasn’t dependent on foreign governments like China. We labored around-the-clock to get things up-and-running in 120 days, and created hundreds of new jobs in the process. Our masks received rave reviews for comfort and protection.
Now Made in China imports are back.
These masks are produced by companies owned or subsidized by China’s communist government. They’re priced far below fair market value, and don’t abide by the same types of labor, environmental or quality standards that we do. Many have been found to be counterfeit and have failed to meet safety standards, putting the American public in danger.
Our orders have dried up because of the flood of imported low- quality masks from China. We’ve already had to lay off many of the hardworking people who stepped up and came to work every day to make masks in the midst of the pandemic.
It’s disheartening that the U.S. government is choosing to boost the competitiveness of cheap imports from China, many of which are being dumped, at the expense of companies who set up to help fight both the current and future pandemics.
We know we have a good product, and we stand ready to compete. But right now, we're not competing on a level playing field — and the worst part is that the U.S. government is giving China an assist!
TELL THE U.S. TRADE REPRESENTATIVE: Stand up for American manufacturers! End tariff exclusions on Chinese imports of N95 masks and PPE!
CEO, Shawmut Corporation