Masks and hand sanitizers face controls to prevent profiteering and hoarding

The Ministry of Commerce will propose to the cabinet tomorrow (Tuesday) that protective face masks and hand sanitizer gel be added to a list of controlled products, for which the export of over 500 units requires permission.

Internal Trade Department chief, Mr. Wichai Pochanakit, said that the department would also introduce a regulation requiring anyone delivering more than 500 pieces to notify the department, in order to prevent smuggling.

Commerce Minister Jurin Laksanavisit chaired a meeting today of the central committee on product prices and services, which agreed to designate the masks, polypropylene yarn to make them and hand sanitizer as controlled products.

He said that the move was designed to prevent shortages of the items and to prevent profiteering.

If the proposal is approved, he said the Internal Trade Department would instruct the producers, dealers, importers and exporters of the products, including raw materials used in their production, to report their costs, rate of production and inventories.

Under normal circumstances, demand for hygienic face masks is estimated at 30 million a month. Recently, however, the demand has increased to as many as 50 million due to increased concern over coronavirus infection and PM2.5 dust in the air.

Source: Thai Public Broadcasting Service (Thai PBS)