The China-Britain Business Council (CBBC) has issued guidance on shipping urgent medical supplies to the UK from China advising great caution as procuring supplies is becoming ever more complex.

“Given current market instability,” the Council warned, “Chinese intermediaries are making commitments without any pre-existing product allocation. Although these commitments are made in good faith, some intermediaries find the stock they believed had been allocated to them has been sold to a different intermediary offering a higher price, more immediate payment or increasingly, access to in-demand raw material.”

Companies wishing to procure stock from China should conduct due diligence checks and preferably procure pre-existing stock, the CBBC advises.

It points out that the British Embassy in Beijing is prioritising procurement directly from manufacturers and large Chinese healthcare distributors.

If companies are trying to ship equipment to the UK, the Embassy continues to recommend that they charter a flight. DHL is still working, the CBBC notes, and other carriers, including Cathay Pacific, have offered cargo routes.

China’s Civil Aviation Authority has simplified and shortened the approval process with more details available at http://www.cbbc.org/getmedia/b68cf3b0-b332-4838-942d-904ddaf34e42/A-Quick-Guide-to-Organising-Cargo-Charter-Flights-to-from-China-(17th-April-2020)/.

Companies trying to send small urgent packages are advised that the Embassy can try to get it onto flights being chartered for urgent equipment for the NHS and Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC).

This will depend on available space and an understanding that UK Government-procured equipment will take priority on these flights. Companies wanting to take advantage of this option should email the DHSC at COVID19freight@dhsc.gov.uk for more details.

A checklist of necessary customs clearances that companies need to secure during equipment procurement can be found at http://www.cbbc.org/getmedia/d9f5aae6-1e6b-47df-a7d9-f200e092cd8d/Checklist-of-certifications-for-Chinese-manufacturers-supplying-medical-products-to-the-UK-(9th-April-2020).

Last reviewed 30 April 2020