US label rule hurts medical-supply, jewelry and food sectors in American market
HONG KONG — Inside a factory in Hong Kong’s bustling Lai Chi Kok district, dozens of workers place multiple layers of nonwoven fabric into machines, where they are compressed, cut into rectangles and attached to earloops. From there, the face masks undergo quality control before they are sterilized, bundled and boxed for shipment.
These “Made in Hong Kong” masks are manufactured by Lockill, established in March amid the coronavirus pandemic, and are sold locally and abroad. But the company’s U.S. exports are facing an uncertain future after Washington announced this past summer that all Hong Kong imports must be labeled as “Made in China” in response to Beijing’s imposition of a national security law in the city.
The policy, which only affects products exported to the U.S., comes into effect on Tuesday.
The U.S. market makes up 15% of Lockill’s business since it started exporting there in April. Now the company is engulfed in tensions between Washington and Beijing over trade and other issues. The lengthy time for shipping the masks by sea means that Poon had to suspend exports to the U.S. in August.