Policy Article

China’s mask diplomacy: The role of political and economic relations for the sourcing of medical goods during the corona crisis

Kiel Policy Brief, 146 Download PDF

China assumed an important role during the worldwide outbreak of COVID-19 as the main exporter of critical medical goods such as face masks and disinfectants. The authors use official monthly trade data from China Customs to investigate the emerging trade patterns, both for commercial exports and donations of medical goods. They find that both existing trade linkages and political ties to Chinese provinces can help to attract Chinese medical goods.


Lennart Kaplan
Krisztina Kis-Katos
Sebastian Schmidt
Felix Turbanisch
Feicheng Wang