China’s strict “Zero COVID” policy is testing not only Shanghai residents’ patience but also foreign businesses operating in the country. Trade groups have voiced their distress.
In a letter dated April 8, the European Chamber of Commerce in China asked Beijing to revise its “old toolbox” in fighting the pandemic, saying that “the social and economic costs of applying increasingly stringent measures to achieve this are rapidly mounting.”
The letter, signed by Jorg Wuttke, EU Chamber of Commerce in China President, reads, “Current measures taken to try and contain the recent COVID-19 outbreak in China is causing significant disruptions, extending from logistics and production all the way along the supply chain within China.”
The letter, which suggested Beijing adopt the model that used in Singapore instead of its current approach, was sent to Chinese Vice Premier Hu Chunhua.
In addition, the U.S.-China Business Council also expressed concern about China’s COVID defense strategy.
According to Politico, the organization said, “The stresses created by the shutdowns in Shanghai and adjoining regions are significant. Company operations, supply chains, and staffing capabilities are significantly impaired, which is compounded by coordination challenges with local governments.”
The statement continued, “There are also concerns about worker safety if they do test positive for COVID and are sent to an undisclosed quarantine facility without clear guidance on when or how they can leave.”
Siva Yam, President of the China-US Chamber of Commerce in Chicago, believed that China would “be left behind” if it keeps clinging to the stringent lockdowns.
She said, “When you look at the United States and Europe, they are opening up, they have accepted the fact that the only way you can control [COVID] is to accept that it will [circulate] in the community.”