VUnder strict coronavirus rules in China, EU companies have called on the government in Beijing to change course. Traffic bans, significant entry restrictions and other strict measures are a heavy burden for businesses from the point of view of the EU Chamber of Commerce in Beijing. China needs to allay companies’ fears and “regain confidence with a clear plan,” Chamber Vice President Bettina Schön-Behanzin said in a survey of member companies on Monday.
The situation can not be brought under control with mass testing and lockdown. “China must open its borders. “He has all the means for a big comeback,” says Schön-Behanzin.
The Chinese economy came under pressure in the first half of the year due to strict measures to curb the coronavirus. Many millions of people have been affected by the curfew. The financial metropolis of Shanghai has been in full quarantine for two months since the beginning of April. Although the situation has improved slightly, there is still great uncertainty.
The mood deteriorated significantly
As in the previous year, EU companies in the business climate survey described the coronavirus measures as the most serious problem they faced in China. An additional investigation, conducted by the chamber only after the big lockdown in Shanghai and the outbreak of war in Ukraine, showed that the mood had deteriorated significantly again.
Both events had a “significant destabilizing effect on the activities of European companies in China.” Three-quarters of members reported that the stricter restraint measures had a negative impact on their activities. 92 percent complained about supply chain problems caused by port closures and rising transportation costs. 23 percent of respondents said they are considering putting new investments on hold.
According to Schön-Behanzin, hiring new staff from Europe is also a big challenge. “It’s hard to find someone who still wants to travel to China.” Lockdowns, long quarantine periods and fewer and fewer available flights have triggered a real “exit”.
To ease the situation in China, the chamber advised the government to use more effective mRNA vaccines. The Democratic Republic should be based more on the Singaporean model, Schön-Behanzin said. The city-state of Southeast Asia initially imposed very strict measures more than two years ago after the onset of the coronavirus pandemic. However, after achieving a high vaccination rate, Singapore continued to return to normal.
According to the chamber, in addition to the measures for the coronavirus, the companies still had to face many other difficulties in their activities in China. Forty-three percent of companies said they continue to suffer from market access restrictions or regulatory barriers. More than one in three companies said they were treated less favorably than companies based in China. 14 percent of companies were forced to ship technology to China.