— May 29, 2020 —
Baltimore Sister Cities, Inc. (BSC) is excited and honored to announce that its member organization, the Baltimore-Xiamen Sister City Committee (BXSCC) has arranged for the shipment of 50,000 surgical masks from Xiamen, China, to the City of Baltimore. BXSCC continues a long tradition of Chinese immigrants coming to the aid of the United States, from those who were critical to the construction of the transcontinental railroad in the 19th century to those who served in America’s wars and to those now helping Baltimore see the other side of this pandemic.
When BXSCC Chair Xin (Cindy) Wang began receiving requests for PPE (personal protective equipment) within Baltimore and from the State of Maryland, she reached out to the Xiamen Foreign Affairs Office as well as possible PPE providers in Xiamen.
With confirmation from Xiamen that the City could indeed provide masks, Wang began working with Hosea Chew, Director of Administration for the Office of Mayor Bernard C. “Jack” Young, and the Chinese Embassy. Other Xiamen Sister Cities began receiving smaller PPE shipments and Wang began fielding daily calls about shipment logistics to Baltimore with freight forwarders, lawyers, Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and customs officials.
The City of Xiamen is covering the cost of the masks themselves as well as shipment to John F. Kennedy Airport in New York. The City of Baltimore is clearing the masks through customs and shipping them from New York to Baltimore. Baltimore Sister Cities, Inc, as the importer of record and a 501c3 nonprofit organization, is exempt from import duties and will be donating the masks to the City of Baltimore.
Twenty-five boxes of surgical masks—551 pounds—arrived in Baltimore on May 28. They will be stored at Baltimore’s Emergency Operation Center and distributed based on requests from hospitals or other institutions in need.
Tharwat Abouraya, President
Baltimore Sister Cities, Inc.
For more information about Baltimore-Xiamen Sister City Committee (BXSCC), visit their site at bxscc.org.