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Lockdown and sealed Chinese borders China opens up to a few foreign charters

June, 09 2020

The most recent chapter of Chinese history is the one about the biggest economic miracle of all times. The geo–political and economic changes of the past few years, most evident in China, have determined the blossoming of new industries where the demand for foreign know–how has been increasing constantly. As the Chinese society became more complex, new sets of needs flourished, determining an influx of expatriates, many of which Italian citizens. These were not only business professionals, but also people working in art, architecture, education, international cooperation.

Thus, the Chinese economic landscape today is characterized by a strong presence of western companies, offering jobs to millions of people. This exchange in technical know–how could not have taken place without the physical presence of foreign industry professionals in China; such as executives, engineers and other fundamental activities for the global economy.

The German automaker, Volkswagen has 10.000 employees working in Chinese factories, as do many other players in the industry like Fiat and Maserati. Among these realities we find the Asian branch of Triumph Group, that is currently employing 16 people, 12 of which Chinese nationals. For this reason, the PRC has been forced to open up to some foreign citizens.

In Shanghai, where Triumph Asia is located, the ban on working activities lasted around 15 days, starting in the beginning of February and lasting until the 17th, when the Chinese government authorized the resumption of everyday activities in accordance with new strict rules for social distancing. Eventually, the 28th of march 2020, the Government decided to close the borders, effectively keeping any foreign country from accessing China. A rule applied even to Chinese children born abroad. Nevertheless, some foreigners have managed to land at the Shanghai airport.

Germany has negotiated a “Fast–Track” deal in order to organize the transfer of German citizens to China. This exception was granted to limit the economic repercussions of the post–Covid era. The first Lufthansa flight left Frankfurt on May 25th boarding several professionals that, in addition to showing health certificates issued by their country of origin, had to undergo further medical checks and a mini–quarantine of 48 ours, once landed in China. One of the passengers did test positive for Covid–19 upon arrival although he was asymptomatic.

And while a new German charter to China took off the 3rd of June, other European countries, among which Italy, are trying to obtain the same privilege. In addition to Italy in fact many European countries like France, Greece, the UK and Switzerland have strong economic ties to China. Thus, diplomatic negotiations are continuing in order to clear a path and resume China–Europe exchanges.

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