Talking Trade: PPE and US exports

Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) accounts for 30% of the products that are moved globally, with 40% of those PPE product exports coming from China, Germany, and the US. These 3 nations contribute to almost half of the world's face mask supply. President Trump's Memorandum issued on April 3 restricts the export of PPE products from the US and gives the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) the right to approve or deny the movement of such goods.

Other key points include the ruling is temporarily effective for 120-days, and applies to scarce or threatened materials such as certain filtering facepiece respirators (N95, N100, R95, etc.) air-purifying respirators, PPE surgical masks, and PPE gloves and surgical gloves. The ruling can also be amended at any time during the 120 days as the circumstances change. 

During this time period, CBP has the ability and control to detain any PPE exports while FEMA makes the final decision on movement based on the following factors:

  • The need to ensure that scarce or threatened items are appropriately allocated for domestic use;
  • Minimization of disruption to the supply chain, both domestically and abroad;
  • The circumstances surrounding the distribution of the materials and potential hoarding or price gouging concerns; 
  • The quantity and quality of the materials; 
  • Humanitarian considerations; and 
  • International relations and diplomatic considerations.  


In turn, this ruling could potentially have a crippling effect on the sourcing of these materials for countries around the world during a time when they are so desperately needed in the fight against COVID-19.

Tune in to the full episode below, where Michael provides a detailed overview of the new process, steps companies can take to comply with the ruling, and certain exemptions that are also in place.