Good news first: here’s now actually a huge abundance of masks available from numerous sellers.
It’s gotten to a point where sellers earn in excess of millions of dollars per day selling masks on Taobao – see the order volume for yourself in a simple search for ”口罩“.
Here’s the problem – because of the huge influx of exports of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), custom restrictions have been tightened a little, but you still CAN ship out masks from China, subject to a few simple rules:
Only “CITIZEN GRADE” (also known as “民用”) masks can be exported: For example, KN95 (China’s own version of N95) is OK, but you can’t do say, 3M’s N95 as it’s classified as Medical Grade. Even for surgical masks – check to make sure it’s NOT Medical Grade (“医用”)
To be more precise, if the product details page which you are intending to buy from has any of these certifications, it means that it is Medical Grade and you cannot export this without special specific permits:
Hence, the packaging of the masks is very important. Visually, they might both look alike – but if your seller decides to declare the certification standards of the masks on the packaging (it could be a slip of paper, or printing on the box), make sure it’s one of the Citizen Grade grades….. or no grading at all.
See this Chinese Government site for masks classifications.
The definitions are pretty much quite vague here – but you can ship out a reasonable number of masks for “personal consumption” together with other goods such that you might order. That means, mix your masks with other stuff, lah. Take this chance to get some nice heels and clubbing clothes so that you can party with DJ Chris every night in your living room.
We can’t possibly know what this number is at this point, but if the shipment looks like a “commercial shipment”, then Rule #3 below applies.
Yep, there is a small cost for this – S$40 per shipment – to be exact. So MAKE IT COUNT. If you want to buy a lot, go BIG… go really big!
(Edit: Updated as per 20 April 2020 guidelines advised by our customs clearing provider)
Yep, there is a small cost for this – S$40 per shipment – to be exact. The shipment will also be minimally charged at the Big Sea (1m3 and above) rate… meaning, if you have a mask shipment of for example, 0.42m3, it will still be charged at 1m3 rate. So MAKE IT COUNT. If you want to buy a lot, go BIG… go really big!
You MUST inform us at the point of releasing your goods that you need a Commercial PPE Export Permit if you want us to apply for this. We cannot apply for this after the goods have been released!
..that requires a different permit, which we cannot help you obtain unfortunately at this point. We’re working with our clearing agent partners to find ways around this, and we will keep you posted should this option open up!
Here at Sheep, we generally don’t open your packages as we respect your privacy.
(However, all packages go through x-ray scanning on arrival at our China warehouse, which means if you try to smuggle drugs, guns, weapons and you know – illegal stuff – we will report it to the relevant authorities.)
That said, there is no way to tell the “grading” of masks apart from an x-ray scan, and we’ll just treat it that you’ve done your due diligence in deciding whether to declare the masks or not, and also whether to opt for a commercial permit or not. It is entirely up to you, our customer.
And, if they decide to do so and spot Medical Grade masks, or a quantity in which they believe to be more than just for “personal consumption”, they have the right to detain and/or confiscate your shipment partially or in it’s entirety, just like any responsible customs office.
We take NO responsibility should that detention happen at Chinese Customs – and since your cargo slots were already booked in the container (be it Air or Sea), we are also unable to refund the shipping costs.
Ok, now you’re all caught up to speed with the latest export regulations as of 17 April, 2020!
Have fun with your mask shopping, and as always, don’t hesitate to get in touch with us should you have more queries.
Thank you for your continued support!