Face mask export ban tightened

Face mask export ban tightened

People buy face masks near Government House early this month. Exports of face masks are now banned in most cases, to ensure an adequate domestic supply. (Photo: Chanat Katanyu)
People buy face masks near Government House early this month. Exports of face masks are now banned in most cases, to ensure an adequate domestic supply. (Photo: Chanat Katanyu)

The Internal Trade Department has banned the unauthorised export of face masks to ensure an adequate domestic supply, but outbound travellers are allowed to take a limited number with them.

Director-general Whichai Phochanakij said on Friday the new restrictions, which related to coronavirus concerns, were effective immediately. They closed a loophole some parties exploited to export face masks without prior permission.

Earlier, the department had required each exporter to seek permission for the export of 500 masks or more. Some parties responded by dividing their exports up and shipping fewer than 500 masks in each delivery.

The new restriction spares travellers who need face masks while abroad. Each traveller can  carry up to 30 masks per trip.  If they have a medical certificate, the limit is 50 masks per trip, Mr Whichai said.

Manufacturers are allowed to export face masks which do not comply with the specifications used locally, or are subject to trademark restrictions.

Neighbouring countries could seek to import face masks from Thailand through a government-to-government channel, he said.


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