Alibaba resumes shipments of protective equipment to Poland

The Chinese e-commerce giants Alibaba and AliExpress have resumed the shipping of face masks and other personal protective equipment to Poland after the company was contacted by the Polish government.

Joanna Dębek from the Ministry of Digitisation told the Polish Press Agency (PAP) that the Polish side had to contact the Chinese companies to clarify a misunderstanding.

The Polish government had earlier contacted a number of e-commerce giants, including Amazon, Ebay and Alibaba, to ask them to take measures against unfair practices such as price gouging and misleading clients about products, such as claims that some items can magically cure patients suffering from COVID-19.

After the initial contact from the Polish side, Alibaba suspended sales of protective equipment to Poland and informed interested clients that the suspension was a result of a Polish ban on online trading of products used to combat the coronavirus outbreak.

Ms Dębek stated that the reaction to the Polish request by the Chinese was based on a misunderstanding that has now been clarified.

Poland, as many other countries, has found itself in a position where the demand for face masks and other personal protective equipment used to combat the global coronavirus outbreak, is higher than the supply.

Polish President, Andrzej Duda, has been in contact with Chinese President Xi Jinping, to secure Chinese support for Polish purchases of personal protective equipment.

China is by far the world’s largest producer of personal protective equipment, putting it in a position where many countries are currently competing for access to the products it has to offer.

Beginning next week, an air bridge with China will be initiated to carry personal protective equipment for medical services involved in the fight against coronavirus, said head of the Polish Prime Minister's Office Michal Dworczyk on Thursday.