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Jan 13, 2021 / 11:14

Vietnam exports nearly 1.4 billion medical face masks in Covid-19 year

Around 70.86 million medical face masks were shipped last December, a sharp decrease of 59% against the previous month.

In a year ravaged by the Covid-19 pandemic, Vietnam exported a total of 1.37 billion medical face masks, according to the General Statistics Office.

The General Department of Vietnam Customs (GDVC) went on to say that around 30 companies in Vietnam exported medical face masks to the US, Europe, Singapore, and South Korea, among others.

 Data: GDVC. Chart: Ngoc Thuy. 

With 70.86 million medical face masks exported last December, down 59% against the previous month, Vietnam’s face masks export declined for the first time, following the rise in export turnover of such products in the previous three consecutive months.

After Vietnam’s effective containment of the Covid-19 pandemic, Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc in May 2020 approved the export of medical face masks and protective gear after local companies met domestic demand and the country's reserves.

However, the export turnover of face masks started declining in July after the Covid-19 pandemic was gradually contained in many countries. In the domestic market, demand for face masks also weakened as local people are more experienced in dealing with the Covid-19 pandemic.

Since September, demand for face masks had sharply risen as countries around the world are struggling with a resurgence in Covid-19 infections, especially in Europe and the US. As such, many governments have made it compulsory for people to wear face masks.

Under the growing impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic, face mask production is considered a viable solution for garment companies in Vietnam to maintain operations and offset losses from lower demand for garments.

Last year, Vietnam’s textile and apparel exports are set to decrease by 10% from 2019 to US$35 billion, which in turn fell short of the apparel export target of $42 billion. This is the first decline for the garment sector after 25 years of steady rise.