Brazil's slander over supplies unfair as US middleman profiteers: source

By Bai Yunyi and Yin Yeping Source:Global Times Published: 2020/4/8 22:43:40

Employees produce ventilators at Mindray Bio-Medical Electronics Co., Ltd., a medical device manufacturer based in Shenzhen, south China's Guangdong Province, March 31, 2020. (Xinhua/Liang Xu)

Chinese medical suppliers have not profiteered in dealings with Brazil, and they will continue to provide medical equipment to all countries and save more lives despite deliberate, malicious criticism of China's contribution to the global battle against the coronavirus, insiders told the Global Times. 

The comments came after Brazilian ultra-rightist Education Minister Abraham Weintraub linked the coronavirus pandemic to Beijing's "plan for world domination" in a tweet mocking Chinese accents and accusing Chinese suppliers of profiteering from the virus outbreak. 

Last week, the government of Bahia state ordered ventilators from China, but later the order was intercepted at the Miami airport, Florida. Brazil was told that the machines would be diverted, Brazilian media reported.

A person familiar with the matter told the Global Times that the ventilators diversion case actually had nothing to do with China, noting the machines were ordered by a local Brazilian government through an American dealer.

"Chinese manufacturers have delivered the ventilators to the American middleman, and the reason why the machines have not reached the hands of the Brazilian government is because the middleman was successively entangled between the local government and other American companies at the Miami airport," the source said.

Some Brazilians doubted whether the machines had been sold to the US by the Chinese company. There have also been media reports insinuating that China has broken its word by invalidating orders for ventilators purchased by Brazil.

The ventilators were seized by a local buyer from New York who offered higher prices than Brazil. The American middleman then switched hands and sold the machines to the American buyer, the source told the Global Times.

"The Chinese firm has fulfilled its contractual obligations. There is no such thing as breach of faith or loyalty," he said, adding that it was because the American middleman resold the goods to local American dealers. 

The source told the Global Times that because the Brazilian government at the time adopted a cash-on-delivery method, and it has not yet paid for the order, it may not be able to claim any rights.

Weintraub is known in Brazil for his anti-China, pro-US political stance, which has become a distinct feature of him on the Brazilian political arena. However, his influence and popularity among  Brazilian people are considered weak. 

The Chinese Embassy in Brazil said on Sunday that Weintraub's anti-China comments showed strong racial discrimination and were deliberately made to blemish China, and this has had a negative impact on the healthy development of China-Brazil relations.

He intentionally linked the origin of COVID-19 with China in order to stigmatize China, which showed his long-planned ill-will, the Embassy said. 

The minister said he would apologize if China agreed to sell Brazil 1,000 ventilators.

Meanwhile, Brazil Health Minister Luiz  Henrique Mandetta told a press conference on Tuesday that Brazil hopes to continue to purchase ventilators from China, adding he has communicated with China to secure the country's rising demand for masks and other medical supplies, after Brazil was turned down by some foreign countries  on medical supplying .

Previously, Eduardo Bolsonaro, a Brazilian lawmaker and the son of Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro, made insulting comments about China by groundlessly blaming China for the spread of the coronavirus.

In contrast with the unfair comments about China amid the outbreak, Chinese workers at medical equipment makers are working extra hours to ensure the full use of production capacity for exports to various countries, including Brazil.

Jiang Dong, marketing manager of BMC Medical Co (BMC), a major ventilator supplier based in Beijing, told the Global Times on Wednesday that the company has exported ventilators worldwide including to the US and Brazil.

Jiang said that given the booming demand, the company's production capacity has been stretched to the limit. "We have about 50 percent more workers than we had before the outbreak, and they are working overtime. They don't even take weekends off," Jiang said.

BMC has seen a significant rise in orders, from 10,000 units a month before the outbreak to more than 30,000 a month now.

China does not and will not restrict the export of medical supplies, according to the Ministry of Commerce on Sunday. The ministry said that China's customs  has cleared 10.2 billion yuan ($144 million) worth of medical materials since March 1.

Meanwhile, China's ventilator makers have exported 18,000 ventilators, including 4,000 invasive ventilators, to help foreign countries fight the virus, said the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology on Wednesday. China's ventilator production capacity is now 2,200 a week.

Bai Yu, president of the the Medical Appliances Branch of the China Medical Pharmaceutical Material Association, told the Global Times that at present, all ventilator makers have seen a growing gap between supply and demand, as production reaches its limits.

"Whoever makes orders first will get the goods earlier," Bai said. "But we found that some countries were slow to make orders, even though they were very short of medical equipment, until the global supply chain became tight."

"As far as I know, the ex-factory price of most ventilators has not increased too much, but some governments do not order directly from Chinese suppliers, but through middlemen, causing chaos in the export market," Bai said.

Newspaper headline: Source slams Brazil slander


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