Taiwan to export micro surgical face mask factories


TAIPEI (CNA) — The Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) said Thursday it plans to help local companies export micro surgical face mask factories as a package amid the rising need for face masks around the world due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Y.C. Tsai (蔡允中), director-general of MOFA’s Department of International Cooperation and Economic Affairs, said during a press conference that the ministry is trying to bring together Taiwanese suppliers of raw materials, machinery and technology, needed to assemble a “micro face mask factory.”

MOFA will then offer the package to interested international buyers through its more than 100 representative offices abroad, Tsai said.

Based on an initial plan, a micro surgical face mask factory will consist of 20 production lines. Once complete, it will have daily production capacity of 2 million face masks, Tsai said, adding that the factory can even be converted to produce N95 or R95 face masks, as needed.

With such facilities, countries can immediately satisfy domestic need should another outbreak similar to COVID-19 happen in the future. Some European countries may even manufacture enough to export the excess, Tsai added.

The plan is expected to help Taiwanese industry expand its market share globally while enabling other countries to become self-sufficient in face mask production, Tsai said.

Tsai was unable to provide a price range for such face mask production facilities as the plan is still in the discussion stage. Nevertheless, he did say the price would be “competitive.”

The idea came at a time when many foreign countries or potential buyers are making inquiries about Taiwan-made face masks and Taiwan’s government is looking to lift a ban on surgical mask exports on June 1, as production is now able to meet basic domestic demand.

However, the decision will not be finalized until later this week, according to an official with the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC).