Strengthen multi-level international cooperation to fight the pandemic


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Executive Summary

The spread of the coronavirus poses a huge threat not only to public health, but also the global economy. On March 26, a G20 Extraordinary Virtual Leaders’ Summit was held to discuss the crisis. In a communique issued at the end of the summit, G20 leaders committed to a united response to fight the pandemic, including strengthening the World Health Organization’s mandate and injecting over $5 trillion into the global economy, as part of targeted fiscal policy, economic measures, and guarantee schemes to counteract the social, economic and financial impacts of the pandemic.

The G20 summit has sent a positive signal for international cooperation to face current challenges from the global pandemic. At this critical juncture, this report by the Center for China and Globalization (CCG) summarizes China’s experience in dealing with the outbreak and provides suggestions on global cooperation to fight the virus and its economic fallout. It draws on ongoing research and analysis of the unfolding outbreak and recent seminars CCG has hosted featuring Chinese and foreign experts.

The report summarizes key aspects of China’s experience on COVID-19.

  1. Central coordination – the State Council launched the Joint Prevention and Control Mechanism to coordinate efforts to contain virus spread as well as measures to manage economic and social impacts.
  2. Efficiently mobilize and allocate resources in a nationwide effort to deal with the epidemic.
  3. Establish effective communication platforms with timely and transparent disclosure of accurate information on the epidemic to promote trust and cooperation from the society.
  4. Impose strict social distancing and implement comprehensive non-pharmaceutical interventions.
  5. Mobilize extensive networks of grassroots officials and community social care workers to implement response policies quickly and effectively.
  6. Accelerate deployment and guarantee the efficient operation of logistics to ensure a safe and stable supply of essential goods.
  7. Leverage new digital technologies such as big data, mobile apps and artificial intelligence applications to track exposure to the virus, promote internet-based mass entertainment, and boost online retail.
  8. Implement policies at multiple levels in a timely manner to reduce the burden on enterprises and stabilize the economy.
  9. Seek to achieve the twin objectives of epidemic control and restarting economic activity, giving due weight to each consideration.
  10. Actively carry out international cooperation in the fight against epidemic while sharing information and experience.

Based on these findings, the report makes ten recommendations on responses to the coronavirus and its impact on public health and safety, the world economy, and global value chains. More detail on these recommendations and supporting measures is given in the full report.

  1. Enhance multilateral platforms, in particular, the role of the G20 to facilitate high- level diplomacy needed to address the coronavirus challenge.
  2. Support the World Health Organization (WHO) to play a greater role in global cooperation and establish a governance mechanism for international coordination on public health measures.
  3. Protect global value chains, supply chains and industrial chains through international cooperation, helping to stabilize and revitalize the global economy.
  4. China and the US should work to strengthen dialogue and reach consensus on trade in medical supplies and global efforts to fight the epidemic.
  5. Support the World Trade Organization (WTO) to play a role in responding to the epidemic, promoting trade facilitation for emergency goods and cooperation across supply chains.
  6. Stabilize regional security and focus efforts on fighting the epidemic. This should include working together to assist regions and countries with more vulnerable healthcare systems.
  7. Encourage the sharing of research results on COVID-19 and support multinational cooperation on drug and vaccine development.
  8. Encourage local governments and non-state actors to provide various forms of material support and assistance.
  9. Safeguard global food trade and boost cooperation via regional and multilateral institutions to strengthen global governance on food security.
  10. Develop the notion of a community of shared future for mankind as a basis to unite the international community in this fight against the common threat that is COVID-19, and work to build confidence and global solidarity.




COVID-19 has unfolded into a global crisis that has impacted virtually every country on earth, being officially declared a “pandemic” on March 11 by the World Health Organization (WHO). Up to this writing, the number of people infected with coronavirus worldwide has reached 1,202,827 while deaths climbed to 64,771. As well as the enormous cost in lives and impact on public health – possibly the largest public health crisis since World War II – the pandemic will also cause a major global economic fallout and even recession. The episode will also have far-reaching ramifications for institutions, the global economic and political structure, societies, and individual livelihoods and lifestyles, bringing forth profound questions about the future of mankind.

This grave global challenge calls for timely and effective international cooperation. On March 26, a G20 Extraordinary Virtual Leaders’ Summit was held to discuss the crisis. In a communique issued at the end of the summit, G20 leaders committed to a united response to fight the pandemic, including strengthening the World Health Organization’s mandate and injecting over USD 5 trillion into the global economy, as part of targeted fiscal policy, economic measures, and guarantee schemes to counteract the social, economic and financial impacts of the pandemic.

In his speech, Chinese President Xi Jinping stated that at this moment itis imperative for the international community to strengthen confidenceand act with unity in a collective response. He reaffirmed China ‘scommitment to taking part in this global emergency response, embracingmultilateral cooperation and helping stabilize the world economy.

During the crisis, the Center for China and Globalization (CCG) has engaged inongoing research and analysis of the unfolding outbreak and held aseries of online seminars featuring Chinese and foreign experts toexplore policy responses to the pandemic.

Based on in-house research and views contributed by experts, this reportoutlines China’s experience in dealing with COVID-19 since the virusbroke out in Wuhan to provide a reference for other countries facing theordeal now and proposes recommendations on how the internationalcommunity can work together to fight COVID-19 and its massive fallout.

  1. Ten salient aspects of China’s response to COVID-19

As the first country hit by the COVID-19 outbreak, China sufferedconsiderable losses from January and underwent a period of strictcontainment measures. March 19 finally marked the first day without anew locally-transmitted domestic case since the start of the outbreak,and restrictions on Hubei province were progressively lifted from March25 while the rest of the country gearing up to restore economicactivity.

This experience offers useful lessons for other countries as the pandemicnow sweeps the rest of the world. In many ways, China represents aunique situation and many of the governance mechanisms and policymeasures discussed here may not be directly applicable elsewhere for avariety of political, cultural, and socioeconomic reasons. Examples ofeffective measures in virus control and treatment in some countries,notably Singapore, South Korea, and Germany, are also instructive. Thus,rather than outline any particular template to be replicated elsewhere,the intention of this report is to highlight aspects of China’sresponse that were found to be effective as a reference for theinternational community to draw their own insights from, as best suitedto local conditions in other parts of the world.

With this caveat in mind, based on research and analysis of developments todate, this report highlights the following ten salient aspects ofChina’s experience in responding to the COVID-19 outbreak.

  1. Central coordination: State Council launches Joint Prevention and ControlMechanism to coordinate efforts to contain the virus and its economicand social impacts.

In the early phase of the outbreak, 31 provincial-level administrativeregions in mainland China launched a timely top-level public healthemergency response within six days. A Joint Prevention and ControlMechanism was formed at the central government level, directing localgovernments to respond to the outbreak.

This top-level strategy helped to coordinate local responses for publichealth, transport, economy, and social order, boosting logisticalsupport for virus containment, patient treatment, economicstabilization, and daily life. Meanwhile, strong centralized leadershiplaid a solid foundation for the introduction and implementation ofvarious response measures to control the initial outbreak in China.

This coordination also helped to mobilize resources from across the country:10,000 medical staff drawn from regional and municipal hospitals weredispatched to Hubei, major enterprises reconfigured production lines tosupply essential equipment, and various public institutions includingeven local party schools were repurposed as field hospitals andemergency facilities. During this process, the strong role of publicownership in the economy also helped to mobilize and focus effortsacross various sectors including transportation, medical care,education, emergency troops, etc.

  1. Efficiently mobilize and allocate resources in a nationwide effort to deal with the epidemic.

The sudden outbreak threatened to overwhelm Wuhan’s infrastructure andinstitutions for healthcare and other essential goods and services.China’s ability to rapidly mobilize and allocate resources helped toalleviate the worst impacts of this pressure on Wuhan. By February 17,Hubei had received CNY 11.5 billion in public donations and CNY 4.5billion from the Ministry of Finance. The central government alsooffered financial relief to individual patients with the virus whilefurther economic support poured into Hubei.

The government also acted to boost healthcare capacity in Hubei, includingbuilding two emergency 1000-bed fields hospitals within two weeks, aswell as transforming existing convention centers and stadiums intotemporary wards. Nineteen provinces and cities were designated tosupport cities in Hubei, making sure material and human resources werebeing directed to where they were needed – the epicenter of theepidemic.

This nationwide support and collective mobilization of resources helpedHubei to weather the worst of the epidemic. After two months of extremecontainment efforts, Hubei finally achieved its first day without a newconfirmed case on March 18.

  1. Effective communication platforms with timely and transparent disclosure ofaccurate information on the epidemic can promote trust and cooperationfrom society.

Public panic can be more destructive than the virus itself. Therefore, it isnecessary to make timely correction of misinformation, strengthen publiccommunication by having daily press conferences for virus update toalleviate fear, anxiety, misunderstanding, and resistance to containmentmeasures from the larger society.

  • Open and transparent information from authorities can help avoid mass panic

After the outbreak in Wuhan, the central government ordered local governmentsto strictly implement the policy of public information, updating daily,transparent and open epidemic information. COVID-19 cases, includingnewly confirmed, suspected, death and cured, were published daily tomake the citizenry fully informed on the virus development, includingthe transmission trajectories. To disperse skepticism surrounding thecase data, the central government publicly reaffirmed zero tolerance forinaccurate report from local authorities.

  • Popularization of scientific knowledge can encourage rational behavior and limit the spread of virus

The media and government used proactive ways to publish and inform peopledetails about coronavirus including tracing the source of the virus,pathological study, vaccine development and other information aboutcoronavirus. It has helped the public learn what and how aboutcoronavirus prevention and containment, and has limited overzealousprotective behavior which may have exacerbated the virus spread.

  • Utilization of big data and Internet social media as rumor dispellingplatforms had significant efforts to spread official messaging.

Disinformation is a common problem in modern times. Building online rumor dispellingplatform via big data and social media tools can identify, correct anddisperse fabricated or even ill-motivated facts that can quicklyinstigate negative public sentiment. Shortly after the coronaviruscaught public attention, Twitter-like Weibo with almost 200 milliondaily active users, as one of the biggest social media platforms,messaged each Weibo user via “Weibo Refutes Rumors” to spread denials offalse information with explanation by authorized sources every day,which worked to foster public awareness about the danger of “alternativefacts” being circulated in cyberspace.

  • Online platforms offered people greater sense of efficacy in evaluating government agencies’ emergency response performance.

During the crisis, the public was made a watchdog to identify weak spots invirus fighting measures. For example, Red Cross Society of China, astate-run charity organization, was publicly crucified for itsincompetence in distributing donated personal protective equipment (PPE)to hospitals in Wuhan and the opaque record-keeping of donations. Amidthe public rage, the local authorities quickly stepped in to take overthe task crippled by logistical challenge and demand accountability fromagencies and organizations involved in coronavirus fighting. The publicwas invited to monitor the construction of two field hospitals“Leishenshan” and “Huoshenshan” as the authorities take the constructionprocess live on internet during which each netizen could be a sitesupervise. These actions fostered a sense of civic participation ingovernment affairs in times when social trust is critical to ensuresuccess in the virus fighting campaign.

  1. Impose strict social distancing and implement comprehensive non-pharmaceutical interventions.

The WHO-China Joint Mission on Coronavirus, consisting of experts fromChina, the WHO, and other countries, was carried out over a nine-dayperiod from 16-24 February in Beijing, Hubei, Guangdong and Sichuan,leading to the Report of the WHO-China Joint Mission on CoronavirusDisease 2019 (COVID-19). The report gives full credit to China’s “non-pharmaceutical interventions” which refer to measures including medicalobservation, social distancing, and personal protection and prevention.

The government imposed a lockdown in Wuhan on Jan. 23, just one day beforethe eve of Chinese New Year. Compared to “shelter-in-place” and“stay-at-home” orders, the lockdown decree, effective immediately,suspended all modes of public transport in Wuhan and the rest of Hubei.Outside Hubei, decisive measures were implemented at multiple levels,including self-isolation for hundreds of millions of people, extensionof the Spring Festival holiday, shutdowns of business and factories,delaying of schools’ re-opening, and the closure of tourist attractionsand shopping centers. These measures of cutting down physical contactamong 6 million people was seen as draconian but proved critical inslowing down the rapid virus transmission. China’s coronavirus storywould’ve been a completely different one if it wasn’t for thedisciplined social distancing practiced in a country of 1.4 billionpopulation.

  1. Mobilize extensive networks of grassroots officials and community social careworkers to implement response policies quickly and effectively.

The coronavirus fighting campaign was akin to a “people’s war”, accordingto the Chinese government, thus requiring all Chinese citizens to complyto the rules, cooperate with the authorities, and make personalsacrifice as they would do during wartime. Cultural factors, such asrespect for authority, a strong sense of collectivism and patriotism,all worked to materialize strong compliance to orders of socialdistancing, self-isolation, personal protection, and other elements ofnonpharmaceutical intervention, contributing to the positive outcome ofvirus control in China.

At the institutional level, China’s grassroots governance mechanismsproved useful in promoting effective implementation of containmentmeasures, enabling door-to-door visits in hard-hit areas, liaising withhospitals for at-risk individuals, and supplying citizens in quarantinewith daily essentials. The vertical system of governance in China wasquick to mobilize the mass network of neighborhood cells, deploying tensof thousands of local policemen, community staff, and social workersdown to the smallest unit of residential areas.

In the early stage of the outbreak, some citizens, particularly seniorcitizens in rural areas with less knowledge of the coronavirus, did notcomply with public directives. Grassroots officials tailored efforts tolocal conditions to boost compliance – banners with slogans urgingpeople to wear mask and stop gathering were erected while voluntaryneighborhood watchers patrolling in villages day and night. In Wuhan,comprehensive inspection and grid management mechanisms facilitatedthorough screening and hospitalization of confirmed cases for treatment.Joint efforts by residents, building administrations, and socialvolunteers jointly contributed to swift enforcement of prevention andcontrol policies.

  1. Accelerate deployment and guarantee the efficient operation of logistics to ensure a safe and stable supply of essential goods.

People’s daily supplies, especially food supplies, were guaranteed with the helpof top-level policy measures since the outbreak began. The Ministry ofCommerce, National Development and Reform Commission and other relevantdepartments have increased market supplies by improving monitoring andearly warning mechanisms, while supportive policies encouraged somecorporations to restart production and business to provide a materialfoundation for market supplies.

Digital platforms helped to guarantee basic necessities in urban areas viae-commerce, food delivery and modern logistics. Grocery online shoppingand home delivery adapted to provide support such as contactlessshopping processes.

Meanwhile, e-commerce platforms enabled farmers to operate e-shops, boosting salesvia livestreaming when agricultural products were hit because oftransport restrictions and lockdowns. With the help of e-commerceplatforms and supportive logistics policies, some high-qualityagricultural products even became available at lower prices.

In general, logistic industries operated efficiently because ofintelligent storage and contactless distribution systems. In JD’ssystem, robots worked around the clock, helping provide effectivedelivery services in hard-hit areas and remote regions with minimalhuman exposure.

  1. Leverage new digital technologies such as big data, mobile apps and artificialintelligence applications to track exposures to the virus, promoteinternet-based mass entertainment, and boost online retail.


The application and innovation of new technology figured prominently inChina’s battle against COVID-19, highlighting China’s advanceddevelopment in areas such as big data, AI, and cloud computing.Throughout the country, information technology, includingtelecommunications and big data ,were used in health QR code systems,which effectively facilitated precise virus tracing and helped citiesand towns to manage post-lockdown mobility.


Via advanced technology applications, medical institutions were able toaccurately and efficiently monitor the epidemic, accelerate virusdiagnosis, and carry out measures of virus prevention and control.Automation, AI-enabled algorism, robots, and other smart technologiesenabled companies to run production and logistical operations withprecision, which expedited supply of much needed medical equipment tosave lives and protect doctors and nurses.


To restore production and commerce, local governments encouraged companiesto upgrade technology and digitize business. Application of newtechnologies such as Internet of things, artificial intelligence,augmented reality and virtual reality software and so on helpedmanufacturers and distributors to produce, sell, and deliver products ina way that minimizes human contact during the health crisis.


As 1.4 billion people were in lockdown, class lectures and even pianolessons were done online, patients consulted doctors via virtualconference, entertainers greeted their fans and internet starsadvertised everything from cosmetics and kitchenware while livebroadcasting on tiktok and taobao, movies were premiered on Chineseversions of youtube and Netflix. These so-called “Internet plus”application in the consumer and retail sectors provided services andmass entertainment for people under severe social distancing.



  1. Implement policies at multiple levels in a timely manner to reduce the burden on business and stabilize the economy.


After the spread of coronavirus has been largely contained, local authoritiesbegan to reoriented toward helping people return to work and companiesresume business and production, especially small and medium enterprises(SMEs) hit hard by lockdown.


In February, the central government enacted a series of fiscal policies torespond to the economic fallout of coronavirus. The Ministry ofFinance, State Taxation Administration, Ministry of Human Resources andSocial Security and other departments jointly issued policy documents toaddress business losses due to COVID-19, including phased reduction,exemption, and suspension of up to CNY 650 billion in taxes and fees.Subsequently, the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology issued20 measures and State Council executive meetings resulted in variouseconomic relief plans to prevent mass unemployment.


China’s central bank also adopted a series of monetary policies to lowerinterest rates and boost liquidity. Local commercial banks injected CNY300 billion in special loans to medical equipment suppliers andessential goods producers. A further provision of credit in the amountof CYN 500 billion was lined up to help companies access to lost-costloans. Local governments, such as Fujian, Shanghai, Beijing and Sichuanhave introduced various detailed relief measures ranging from corporatetax reduction to debt moratorium to help business stay solvent.


  1. Seek to achieve the twin objectives of epidemic control and restartingeconomic activity, giving due weight to each consideration.


Following the gradual decline of COVID-19 cases nationwide, the Chinesegovernment started to relax restrictions on mobility while urgingcompanies to adopt flexible work arrangements with protective measures.Since mid. February, the Beijing municipal government had published twoeditions of guidebook that instructed companies on epidemic prevention.Office buildings in CBD area joined Chaoyang district to launch a“government-property management-tenant” partnership aimed atcollaboration and coordination over coronavirus control programs.


To protect employees returning to work, companies provided face masks anddisinfectant products, while having workspaces rigorously cleaned andsanitized. Some used internal communication platforms to establish asystem that updates employees’ health status, travel and quarantinehistory. The data was shared with local health and industry authoritiesto help them stay on top of the development of work and productionresumption.


  1. Actively carry out international cooperation in the fight against the pandemic while sharing information and experience.

While battling COVID-19 on the domestic front, China has shared informationand supported research collaboration with other countries. During theepidemic, Chinese scientists took only one week to complete virusidentification and viral genome sequencing and voluntarily shared theinformation with the WHO and other countries. China has since published anumber of technical documents on epidemic control and treatmentprotocol with more than 100 countries and international organizations.It has also participated in over 20 virtual consultation sessions andmeetings with international organizations including the WHO, ASEAN,European Union, APEC, African Union, CARICOM, and the ShanghaiCooperation Organization, as well as countries such as Japan, theRepublic of Korea, Russia, Germany, France, the United States, and Laos,during which China shared lab test results, epidemiological studies,and clinical treatment experience.

China has also established an open online knowledge sharing center onCOVID-19 epidemic prevention, including the Global Coronavirus DataSharing and Analysis System and the 2019 Novel Coronavirus Database. Thelatter has attracted 76,000 visits from 152 countries, with a total of4.44 million downloads. These databases have substantially contributedto COVID-19 research. To date, Chinese scientists have published 54papers in top international medical journals and magazines, helpingfield doctors and researchers from around the world to understand thecoronavirus pathogen and develop treatment and vaccine.


  1. Ten recommendations in responses to COVID-19

COVID-19 is a severe public health challenge facing all of humanity. As thiswriting, a total number of confirmed cases worldwide exceeded onemillion. While the United States is rapidly becoming the epicenter ofthe pandemic, the death toll in worst-hit areas such as Italy and Spaincontinues to rise. At the same time, there is a risk that somedeveloping countries in Asia, Africa and Latin America might become newoutbreak epicenters in future. At this critical juncture, internationalcooperation is desperately needed to fight against the pandemic.Ultimately, our ability to control the virus globally depends ondevelopments in areas that are most, not least affected.

The G20 played a leading role in responding to the 2008 global financialcrisis and stabilizing the world economy. The G20 Extraordinary Leaders’Summit held on March 26 has sent a positive signal for the worldleaders’ intention to form a unified global response to thisunprecedented challenge from COVID-19.

Chinese President Xi Jinping put forth four proposals at the summit. He calledon G20 members to be resolute in fighting an all-out global battleagainst the COVID-19 outbreak, have a collective response for controland treatment at the international level, to support internationalorganizations in playing their active roles, and enhance internationalmacroeconomic policy coordination.

Based on the G20’s joint initiative for global coronavirus cooperation, CCGputs forward the following ten suggestions that identifies ways in whichthe world leaders’ statement can turn into actionable plans in theareas of global health and safety, the world economy, and global valuechains.

  1. Enhance multilateral platforms, in particular, the role of the G20 tofacilitate high-level diplomacy needed to address the massivecoronavirus challenge.

Founded in 1999 amidst instability of the international financial system, theG20 has expanded its agenda since the 2008 financial crisis. While theG7 Summit on March 25 failed to issue a communique, the G20Extraordinary Summit has achieved notable results. The leaders of theworld’s major economies have committed to a united response, including aplan to inject over USD 5 trillion dollars into the global economy. Inthe joint statement, countries pledged to protect lives, safeguardpeople’s jobs and incomes, restore confidence, preserve financialstability, revive growth and recover stronger, minimize disruptions totrade and global supply chains, provide help to all countries in need ofassistance, and coordinate on public health and financial measures.

Global markets had been downbeat due to the severity of the pandemic in theG20, tensions between the Trump administration and internationalcounterparts, and weaknesses in the policy responses and preparedness invarious countries. Volatility in stock markets around the world,especially in the US, sparked fear for a global recession. However,after the G20 joint statement was issued, markets responded positivelyto the call for international cooperation with shares in the US andTokyo rising sharply.

In addition to forging consensus on a global response, the G20 platform isalso in the position to help prevent the politicization of thepandemic. While China starts to get back on track after being hit hardby COVID-19, it has been sending medical equipment and advisory teamsoverseas to assist the countries experiencing the coronavirus outbreakordeal in epidemic control. However, the Chinese behavior is oftenperceived with a suspicion for the country’s global strategic ambition.Integrating COVID-19 fighting diplomacy into the G20 framework helpsChina to fulfill its international responsibilities as a great power.

  1. Support the WHO to play a greater role in global cooperation and establish agovernance mechanism for international coordination on public healthmeasures.

The WHO is the international institution set up for technical assistanceand coordination of public health policies. However, due to inadequatefunding and insufficient binding power, in practice, the WHO’s role inpromoting global epidemic prevention and control is limited. In light ofthe ongoing COVID-19 crisis, a multilateral high-level meetinginvolving health ministers and even heads of states shall be calledforth by the United Nations to establish a WHO-centeredcoronavirus-fighting global health infrastructure with countriescontributing to WHO’s funding to empower the organization on levels oflogistics, technology, and personnel.

The financing gap in fighting coronavirus worldwide is staggering.According to the Global Preparedness Monitoring Board (GPMB), at leastUSD 8 billion is needed to address the threats posed by COVID-19,including USD 2 billion for WHO emergency response, USD 750 million fordiagnostics development, USD 3 billion for vaccine research,manufacturing and distribution, and USD 2.25 billion for patienttreatment and preventive medicine. However, the proportion of WHOmembers’ assessed contributions has dropped significant from 62% in 1971to 18% in 2017. To establish the WHO as an effective internationalinstitutional bulwark against a pandemic, member states must increaseboth voluntary and assessed contributions to the organization, fast andnow.

  1. Protect global value chains, supply chains and industrial chains throughinternational cooperation, helping to stabilize and revitalize theglobal economy.

Global economic activity slowed dramatically as the coronavirus spread. Supplychains around the world were disrupted, financial markets shaken, andthe crisis has also amplified existing challenges or vulnerabilities inthe industries. Policy responses should include three aspects.

First, restore market confidence. China’s experience demonstrates thateffective prevention and control measures are essential to economicrecovery, while a strong economy is key to resource mobilization. TheG20 is committed to a total of USD 5 billion in support measures.However, given the remaining uncertainties, countries are encouraged towork with front-line international organizations such the World Bank andthe IMF to deploy more concerted stimulus packages. Central banks andother financial regulators should step up further to coordinate withother countries on fiscal and monetary policies and financialregulations to mitigate the COVID-19 fallout on global financialstability.

Second, support global supply chains. As the world’s manufacturing powerhouse,China is a crucial part of global trade of our times and an epicenter ofsupply chains on medical equipment and PPE in the pandemic, accordingto a recent UNCTAD on the impact of COVID-19 on world trade.Protectionism has been on the rise in recent years and with the ongoingcoronavirus crisis will more likely to exacerbate the already disruptedsupply chains, to the detriment of the world economy. During thepandemic, developments toward “decoupling” from global value chainsserve no country’s interest, rather, reduction in tariffs and otherbarriers to trade and investment shall be countries’ collective call tostrengthen global supply chains in the face of COVID-19 threats.

Third, boost consumer spending. A report from Oxford Economics forecasts thatglobal consumer spending will decrease by 32% if the crisis goes on foran another 12 weeks. Last week, the US passed a USD 2 trillion reliefpackage which identifies consumer spending an essential part of economicrecovery during the crisis. More economies are expected to follow suit.In addition to direct subsidies to consumers, companies across theglobal can take advantage of government support to launch digitalflatforms to reach consumers. It is time for governments to invest inthe so-call “new infrastructure” – 5G networks, data centers, cloudstorage and computing systems, etc. to help businesses digitize andrecharge the world economy.

  1. China and the US should work to strengthen dialogue and reach consensus ontrade in medical supplies and global efforts to fight the epidemic.

Latest tensions between China and the US over the virus origin have hamperedcooperation in tackling the pandemic challenge. Whereas some governorsin the US cried out in public about the acute shortages in PPE facingdoctors and nurses, China’s industrial capacity in producing PPE hasreturned to and even exceeded the level before the crisis with 47,000mask producers making 200 million face masks daily. There is a pressingneed for bilateral cooperation to address the imbalance in demand andsupply during this special time.

US tariffs imposed since 2018 have impacted trade in PPE and otheressential goods. Since 2018, the Trump administration has levied morethan USD 400 billion tariffs on Chinese imports, of which about USD 360billion are still in place today, including those on medical productssuch as masks, gloves, goggles, and thermometers. Since February 15,USTR went through rounds of tariff reduction, exemption, and exclusionon Chinese-made medical gear. USTR further announced on March 20 that itis soliciting comments identifying additional medical-care items to beexcluded from Section 301 in light of the ongoing COVID-19 outbreakuntil June 25. However, thousands of American medical workers’ lives arein danger in that three-month period of time.

US companies have pledged millions in support efforts to help fight thevirus outbreak in China, showing the commitment of American firms to theChinese market. Starbucks, Dow Chemical, and Universal Studios haveeven increased investment in China. After his call with President XiJinping on March 27, President Trump tweeted that he had a “very goodconversation” with President Xi and that China had “been through muchand has developed a strong understanding of the virus.” President Xialso expressed that China was willing to enhance macro-economic policycoordination with Washington to stabilize markets and shore up growthamid the pandemic. Afterall, no effort against the coronavirus – whetherto save American lives at home or combat the disease abroad — will besuccessful without some degree of cooperation between the United Statesand China, as over 90 US foreign policy advisors exhort in an openletter.

  1. Support the WTO to play a role in responding to the epidemic, promoting tradefacilitation for emergency goods and cooperation across supply chains.

On March 12, the WTO announced that it is considering holding a virtualforum for the 12th Ministerial Conference, which was originallyscheduled to take place from 8-11 June. Roberto Azevêdo,Director-General of the WTO, delivered a video speech stating that tradehistorically played an important role in fighting against the epidemic,which guaranteed the efficient production and supply of dailynecessities and essential services, medical supplies and equipment, foodand energy.

Led by automobile manufacturers, many large multinational companies aroundthe world recently reconfigured their production lines to medicalmanufacturing. Fiat Chrysler Automotive Group announced that one of itssubsidiaries, Comau, is planning for mask production in China, with anexpected production of more than 1 million per month. Kia Motorsrevealed that it is considering converting its factory in Yancheng,China, to make masks. Spain’s MANGO and Sweden’s H & M have alsoannounced that their global factories will be used to produce masks andother medical supplies, which will be donated to medical workers inEurope.

Given its crucial role in global supply chains, China has not put anyrestrictions on foreign trade, and has been encouraging domesticenterprises to export medical goods. On March 25, China’s foreignministry revealed that 17 countries have signed purchase agreements withChinese companies. However, it is ironic and heartbreaking that,despite China’s increasing production capacity of masks from 20 millionper day in 2019 to 116 million today amid the gradual decline indomestic demand, shortages of face mask remain in many regions in theworld due to logistical difficulties and customs issues. The WTO couldstep up to coordinate urgent medical supplies and push further tradefacilitation, preventing needed supplies getting delayed at borders.

  1. Stabilize regional security and focus efforts on fighting the epidemic. Thisshould include working together to assist regions and countries withmore vulnerable healthcare systems.

People in conflict zones and unstable areas with weakened healthcare systems,such as Syria, Afghanistan, and Yemen, are especially vulnerable fromthe pandemic. United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres hasappealed for global ceasefire, calling for communication andnegotiations among parties to decrease conflict and enhancecollaboration.

In addition, the coronavirus is spreading in African, South and SoutheastAsian countries, where many localities have underdeveloped healthcareand infrastructure, hampering their ability to fight the pandemic. TheUnited Nations, World Bank, IMF and other multilateral organizationsshould increase aid to developing countries and conflict areas to avoidCOVID-19-related humanitarian crises.

While rich nations and more affluent countries practicing social distancing,millions of the world’s poor do not have access to food and shelter,even running water, let alone health care, to stave off coronavirus. Tothem, lockdown is a privilege. As the disease was spread by the rich asthey flew around the globe, it is only a matter of time that it iskilling millions of the poor if the international community fails toact. This will be a collective shame on humanity. Multilateral agencies,especially those under the United Nations, need to marshal support frommember states to step up efforts in humanitarian relief and capacitybuilding in those failed states, conflict zones, and developing andunder-developed nations.

  1. Encourage the sharing of research results on COVID-19 and support multinational cooperation on drug and vaccine development.

China shared the result of genome sequencing analysis to the worldimmediately after its scientists identified the COVID-19 virus strainback in January, which provided a solid foundation for further researchand development of effective vaccines. The Joint Briefing on China’sexperience on COVID-19, a knowledge sharing platform established jointlyby China’s National Health Commission and the WHO has organized 30virtual sessions to engage COVID-19 experts from 180 countries and 10plus international and regional organizations on the treatment andcontrol plans experimented in China. As the virus quickly spread allover the world, global information sharing is becoming a key for thenext step in response to the ongoing outbreak.

On the other hand, vaccine development is a difficult and time-consumingprocess with all kinds of uncertainties. China has made its findings inCOVID-19 vaccine development open for the global community. In themeantime, Chinese companies are collaborating with their internationalcounterparts in different approaches to vaccine development. Examplesinclude a DNA vaccine project with Inovio, an American company; an mRNAvaccine program with German drug developer BioNTech; a recombinantprotein vaccine with British pharmaceutical company GlaxoSmithKline(GSK). Countries should keep promoting knowledge-sharing in the futureto accelerate the process of vaccine development. Organizations likeCoalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI) also meritgreater international attention and funding support from the leadingcountries of the world for coronavirus vaccine.

  1. Encourage local governments and non-state actors to provide various forms of material support and assistance.

As of November 2019, China boasts of a total of 2,669 friendship citieswith 138 countries. Twin cities have become major channels and platformsfor local foreign affairs activities in China. During the outbreak,China had received wide support from the cities all over the world.Recently, China has donated masks, protective equipment, COVID-19 testkits to 16 countries includes South Korea, Japan, Iran, Italy, Pakistan,Iraq, France, Switzerland, and Germany. Civil organizations such asoversea students’ associations and chambers of commerce are alsooffering help to hard-hit regions.

The public and civil society are an important force in internationalanti-epidemic cooperation and an important supplement tointergovernmental cooperation. When the epidemic broke out in China,foreign companies and NGOs, including the majority of overseas Chineseand other actors, donated resources to China. As COVID-19 spreadsglobally, Chinese multinationals, charitable organizations, and socialgroups should reciprocate. The Chinese authorities can open up a “greenchannel” to expedite exports of privately donated PPE. In the face ofgrowing anti-Chinese sentiment around the world, Chinese diasporas cancontinue to play a large role in helping their host communities fightcoronaries by mobilizing resources, sourcing demand and supply, andcoordinating logistic conduits.

Big businesses in China have been quick in practicing corporate socialresponsibility during the pandemic. China’s tech giant Huawei, forexample, has donated 10,000 N95 masks, 20,000 isolation gowns, 50,000medical goggles and 10,000 gloves to the State of New York. Jack MaFoundation, Alibaba Public Welfare Foundation, and Ali Cloud and AliHealth have played to their respective advantages, cooperating withfirst-line doctors in China to provide clinical experience in theprevention and treatment of coronavirus, and launching free onlinemedical consultation services for overseas Chinese. Furthermore, twofoundations have announced donations of 11.8 million masks and 1.7million kits to Japan, South Korea, Italy, Spain, the United States, andAfrica.

Faced with a shortage of global anti-epidemic medical materials, medical andhealthcare equipment companies should also strengthen cooperation togreatly increase production capacity and production efficiency to ensurethe availability of medical supplies.

  1. Safeguard global food trade and boost cooperation via regional and multilateralinstitutions to strengthen global governance on food supply.

According to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO),as COVID-19 spreads quickly and becomes a global issue, the world is atrisk of a looming food crisis. Although we haven’t yet seen major foodshortages, logistic bottlenecks have already been seen, and disruptionsin food supply chains are expected. Other recent natural disasters haveincreased pressures on food security.

A major exporter of wheat and flour, Kazakhstan suspended exports ofbuckwheat, sugar, potatoes, carrots, onions and cabbages until at leastApril 15 in response to growing coronavirus fears. Similar moves tosecure domestic food security are happening across the world: Vietnamhalted newly-signed rice contracts; Serbia banned export of certainagricultural products, included sunflower oil; Russia is stillconducting weekly assessments on the situation and reserves the decisionfor further action.

Responding to the pandemic requires countries to take measures together to keepglobal trade on stables and agricultural goods active. Instead of takingresponse measures in the form of protectionism, governments areencouraged to ease export restrictions to mitigate the virus’s impact onvulnerable food supply chains.

Agents such as FAO, IFAD (International Fund for Agricultural Development) andWFP (World Food Programme) are expected to play leading roles in thefight against the virus-caused food threat. Multilateral organizationslike the G20, APEC, OECD, and the African Union also shareresponsibilities. In order to protect food security, countries shouldcontinue promoting cooperation on a global scale to assist countries hithard by the virus or already affected by lack of food security.

  1. Call on countries to jointly develop the notion of a community of sharedfuture for humankind as a basis for global collective action and work tobuild confidence and global solidarity in this ongoing battle againsthumanity’s common threat.

Coronavirus poses an unprecedented risk to global health security. While nationsaround the world are racing against time to contain the virus outbreak,the pandemic has also prompted a time for global reflection. Due to theabsence of an international pool of emergency medical supplies,countries are tightening their control on exports of masks andprotective suits, leaving places with fragile health system, such asAfrica, even more vulnerable.

Viruses know neither borders nor ethnicities. Once they strike, no country canstand alone. The outbreak is a natural warning to all of humankind.Protectionism, unilateralism, and geopolitics hinder sustainable humandevelopment. It is vital to form a new type of international relationsfeaturing humanitarian values and a sense of common destiny for theworld to address the existing threats from terrorism, climate change,and COVID-19 and prepare for future crises. Today, as members ofinternational community jointly battles the coronavirus, it can be anopportune time to build solidarity and seek a global approach to boththe health and economic crises.

III. No country is an island. United we will win this global battle against COVID-19.

Since the outbreak emerged in Wuhan, the Chinese government has resorted toepidemic control measures that were deemed extreme to curb the spread ofCOVID-19. These approaches, summarized in this report, turned outnecessary and effective. During the Chinese battle against coronavirus,governments, civil society organizations, multinationals from over 60countries and 7 international organizations poured medical equipment andprotective gears in hospitals in Wuhan and other hard-hit areas.Chinese hearts were deeply touched by the benevolence expressed throughverses like “Across the mountains and foreign lands, the wind and moonunder the same sky. (山川异域,风月同天)” “Together we stand, my armors thine. (岂曰无衣,与子同裳)” onboxes full of masks sent by Japanese donors. After having passed itsworst and embarked on resumption of economic activities, it is China’sturn to requite kindness.

In an interconnected world, a pandemic spares no country.  This sense ofurgency has been expressed by many international observers, includingHenry Kissinger, “No country, not even the U.S., can in a purelynational effort overcome the virus. Addressing the necessities of themoment must ultimately be coupled with a global collaborative vision andprogram. If we cannot do both in tandem, we will face the worst ofeach. “ Whereas in China, some described the COVID-19 outbreak as “China plays in thefirst half and the rest of the world play in the second half”, but Chinamust play the full game till end. Victory cannot be claimed as long asthere are countries ill-prepared for outbreak. The coronavirus episodeis still unfolding as the speed of community transmission accelerates indifferent parts of the world and neither drugs nor vaccine will beavailable on the horizon. The massive financial, economic, and socialimpacts, however, are already being felt by markets, jobs, andlivelihoods across the globe. The recent cyber convention of G20 leaderssent a very clear message: let’s act fast, now, together.


Center for China and Globalization (CCG)