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 it
is imperative for the international community to strengthen confidence
and act with unity in a collective response. He reaffirmed China ‘s
commitment to taking part in this global emergency response, embracing
multilateral cooperation and helping stabilize the world economy.

During the crisis, the Center for China and Globalization (CCG) has engaged in
ongoing research and analysis of the unfolding outbreak and held a
series of online seminars featuring Chinese and foreign experts to
explore policy responses to the pandemic.

Based on in-house research and views contributed by experts, this report
outlines China’s experience in dealing with COVID-19 since the virus
broke out in Wuhan to provide a reference for other countries facing the
ordeal now and proposes recommendations on how the international
community 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 suffered
considerable losses from January and underwent a period of strict
containment measures. March 19 finally marked the first day without a
new locally-transmitted domestic case since the start of the outbreak,
and restrictions on Hubei province were progressively lifted from March
25 while the rest of the country gearing up to restore economic

This experience offers useful lessons for other countries as the pandemic
now sweeps the rest of the world. In many ways, China represents a
unique situation and many of the governance mechanisms and policy
measures discussed here may not be directly applicable elsewhere for a
variety of political, cultural, and socioeconomic reasons. Examples of
effective 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’s
response that were found to be effective as a reference for the
international community to draw their own insights from, as best suited
to local conditions in other parts of the world.

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

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

In the early phase of the outbreak, 31 provincial-level administrative
regions in mainland China launched a timely top-level public health
emergency response within six days. A Joint Prevention and Control
Mechanism was formed at the central government level, directing local
governments to respond to the outbreak.

This top-level strategy helped to coordinate local responses for public
health, transport, economy, and social order, boosting logistical
support for virus containment, patient treatment, economic
stabilization, and daily life. Meanwhile, strong centralized leadership
laid a solid foundation for the introduction and implementation of
various 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 were
dispatched to Hubei, major enterprises reconfigured production lines to
supply essential equipment, and various public institutions including
even local party schools were repurposed as field hospitals and
emergency facilities. During this process, the strong role of public
ownership in the economy also helped to mobilize and focus efforts
across 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 and
institutions for healthcare and other essential goods and services.
China’s ability to rapidly mobilize and allocate resources helped to
alleviate the worst impacts of this pressure on Wuhan. By February 17,
Hubei had received CNY 11.5 billion in public donations and CNY 4.5
billion from the Ministry of Finance. The central government also
offered financial relief to individual patients with the virus while
further economic support poured into Hubei.

The government also acted to boost healthcare capacity in Hubei, including
building two emergency 1000-bed fields hospitals within two weeks, as
well as transforming existing convention centers and stadiums into
temporary wards. Nineteen provinces and cities were designated to
support cities in Hubei, making sure material and human resources were
being directed to where they were needed – the epicenter of the

This nationwide support and collective mobilization of resources helped
Hubei to weather the worst of the epidemic. After two months of extreme
containment efforts, Hubei finally achieved its first day without a new
confirmed case on March 18.

  1. Effective communication platforms with timely and transparent disclosure of
    accurate information on the epidemic can promote trust and cooperation
    from society.

Public panic can be more destructive than the virus itself. Therefore, it is
necessary to make timely correction of misinformation, strengthen public
communication by having daily press conferences for virus update to
alleviate fear, anxiety, misunderstanding, and resistance to containment
measures 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 governments
to strictly implement the policy of public information, updating daily,
transparent and open epidemic information. COVID-19 cases, including
newly confirmed, suspected, death and cured, were published daily to
make the citizenry fully informed on the virus development, including
the transmission trajectories. To disperse skepticism surrounding the
case data, the central government publicly reaffirmed zero tolerance for
inaccurate 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 people
details about coronavirus including tracing the source of the virus,
pathological study, vaccine development and other information about
coronavirus. It has helped the public learn what and how about
coronavirus prevention and containment, and has limited overzealous
protective behavior which may have exacerbated the virus spread.

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

Disinformation is a common problem in modern times. Building online rumor dispelling
platform via big data and social media tools can identify, correct and
disperse fabricated or even ill-motivated facts that can quickly
instigate negative public sentiment. Shortly after the coronavirus
caught public attention, Twitter-like Weibo with almost 200 million
daily active users, as one of the biggest social media platforms,
messaged each Weibo user via “Weibo Refutes Rumors” to spread denials of
false information with explanation by authorized sources every day,
which worked to foster public awareness about the danger of “alternative
facts” 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 in
virus fighting measures. For example, Red Cross Society of China, a
state-run charity organization, was publicly crucified for its
incompetence in distributing donated personal protective equipment (PPE)
to hospitals in Wuhan and the opaque record-keeping of donations. Amid
the public rage, the local authorities quickly stepped in to take over
the task crippled by logistical challenge and demand accountability from
agencies and organizations involved in coronavirus fighting. The public
was invited to monitor the construction of two field hospitals
“Leishenshan” and “Huoshenshan” as the authorities take the construction
process live on internet during which each netizen could be a site
supervise. These actions fostered a sense of civic participation in
government affairs in times when social trust is critical to ensure
success 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 from
China, the WHO, and other countries, was carried out over a nine-day
period from 16-24 February in Beijing, Hubei, Guangdong and Sichuan,
leading to the Report of the WHO-China Joint Mission on Coronavirus
Disease 2019 (COVID-19). The report gives full credit to China’s “non-
pharmaceutical interventions” which refer to measures including medical
observation, social distancing, and personal protection and prevention.

The government imposed a lockdown in Wuhan on Jan. 23, just one day before
the 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, extension
of the Spring Festival holiday, shutdowns of business and factories,
delaying of schools’ re-opening, and the closure of tourist attractions
and shopping centers. These measures of cutting down physical contact
among 6 million people was seen as draconian but proved critical in
slowing down the rapid virus transmission. China’s coronavirus story
would’ve been a completely different one if it wasn’t for the
disciplined social distancing practiced in a country of 1.4 billion

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

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

At the institutional level, China’s grassroots governance mechanisms
proved useful in promoting effective implementation of containment
measures, enabling door-to-door visits in hard-hit areas, liaising with
hospitals for at-risk individuals, and supplying citizens in quarantine
with daily essentials. The vertical system of governance in China was
quick to mobilize the mass network of neighborhood cells, deploying tens
of thousands of local policemen, community staff, and social workers
down to the smallest unit of residential areas.

In the early stage of the outbreak, some citizens, particularly senior
citizens in rural areas with less knowledge of the coronavirus, did not
comply with public directives. Grassroots officials tailored efforts to
local conditions to boost compliance – banners with slogans urging
people to wear mask and stop gathering were erected while voluntary
neighborhood watchers patrolling in villages day and night. In Wuhan,
comprehensive inspection and grid management mechanisms facilitated
thorough screening and hospitalization of confirmed cases for treatment.
Joint efforts by residents, building administrations, and social
volunteers jointly contributed to swift enforcement of prevention and
control 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 help
of top-level policy measures since the outbreak began. The Ministry of
Commerce, National Development and Reform Commission and other relevant
departments have increased market supplies by improving monitoring and
early warning mechanisms, while supportive policies encouraged some
corporations to restart production and business to provide a material
foundation for market supplies.

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

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

In general, logistic industries operated efficiently because of
intelligent storage and contactless distribution systems. In JD’s
system, robots worked around the clock, helping provide effective
delivery services in hard-hit areas and remote regions with minimal
human exposure.

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

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

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

To restore production and commerce, local governments encouraged companies
to upgrade technology and digitize business. Application of new
technologies such as Internet of things, artificial intelligence,
augmented reality and virtual reality software and so on helped
manufacturers and distributors to produce, sell, and deliver products in
a way that minimizes human contact during the health crisis.

As 1.4 billion people were in lockdown, class lectures and even piano
lessons were done online, patients consulted doctors via virtual
conference, entertainers greeted their fans and internet stars
advertised everything from cosmetics and kitchenware while live
broadcasting on tiktok and taobao, movies were premiered on Chinese
versions of youtube and Netflix. These so-called “Internet plus”
application in the consumer and retail sectors provided services and
mass 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 authorities
began to reoriented toward helping people return to work and companies
resume business and production, especially small and medium enterprises
(SMEs) hit hard by lockdown.

In February, the central government enacted a series of fiscal policies to
respond to the economic fallout of coronavirus. The Ministry of
Finance, State Taxation Administration, Ministry of Human Resources and
Social Security and other departments jointly issued policy documents to
address 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 issued
20 measures and State Council executive meetings resulted in various
economic relief plans to prevent mass unemployment.

China’s central bank also adopted a series of monetary policies to lower
interest rates and boost liquidity. Local commercial banks injected CNY
300 billion in special loans to medical equipment suppliers and
essential goods producers. A further provision of credit in the amount
of CYN 500 billion was lined up to help companies access to lost-cost
loans. Local governments, such as Fujian, Shanghai, Beijing and Sichuan
have introduced various detailed relief measures ranging from corporate
tax reduction to debt moratorium to help business stay solvent.

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

Following the gradual decline of COVID-19 cases nationwide, the Chinese
government started to relax restrictions on mobility while urging
companies to adopt flexible work arrangements with protective measures.
Since mid. February, the Beijing municipal government had published two
editions 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 at
collaboration and coordination over coronavirus control programs.

To protect employees returning to work, companies provided face masks and
disinfectant products, while having workspaces rigorously cleaned and
sanitized. Some used internal communication platforms to establish a
system that updates employees’ health status, travel and quarantine
history. The data was shared with local health and industry authorities
to help them stay on top of the development of work and production

  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 information
and supported research collaboration with other countries. During the
epidemic, Chinese scientists took only one week to complete virus
identification and viral genome sequencing and voluntarily shared the
information with the WHO and other countries. China has since published a
number of technical documents on epidemic control and treatment
protocol with more than 100 countries and international organizations.
It has also participated in over 20 virtual consultation sessions and
meetings with international organizations including the WHO, ASEAN,
European Union, APEC, African Union, CARICOM, and the Shanghai
Cooperation Organization, as well as countries such as Japan, the
Republic 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 on
COVID-19 epidemic prevention, including the Global Coronavirus Data
Sharing and Analysis System and the 2019 Novel Coronavirus Database. The
latter has attracted 76,000 visits from 152 countries, with a total of
4.44 million downloads. These databases have substantially contributed
to COVID-19 research. To date, Chinese scientists have published 54
papers in top international medical journals and magazines, helping
field doctors and researchers from around the world to understand the
coronavirus 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 this
writing, a total number of confirmed cases worldwide exceeded one
million. While the United States is rapidly becoming the epicenter of
the pandemic, the death toll in worst-hit areas such as Italy and Spain
continues to rise. At the same time, there is a risk that some
developing countries in Asia, Africa and Latin America might become new
outbreak epicenters in future. At this critical juncture, international
cooperation is desperately needed to fight against the pandemic.
Ultimately, our ability to control the virus globally depends on
developments in areas that are most, not least affected.

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

Chinese President Xi Jinping put forth four proposals at the summit. He called
on G20 members to be resolute in fighting an all-out global battle
against the COVID-19 outbreak, have a collective response for control
and treatment at the international level, to support international
organizations in playing their active roles, and enhance international
macroeconomic policy coordination.

Based on the G20’s joint initiative for global coronavirus cooperation, CCG
puts forward the following ten suggestions that identifies ways in which
the world leaders’ statement can turn into actionable plans in the
areas of global health and safety, the world economy, and global value

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

Founded in 1999 amidst instability of the international financial system, the
G20 has expanded its agenda since the 2008 financial crisis. While the
G7 Summit on March 25 failed to issue a communique, the G20
Extraordinary Summit has achieved notable results. The leaders of the
world’s major economies have committed to a united response, including a
plan to inject over USD 5 trillion dollars into the global economy. In
the joint statement, countries pledged to protect lives, safeguard
people’s jobs and incomes, restore confidence, preserve financial
stability, revive growth and recover stronger, minimize disruptions to
trade and global supply chains, provide help to all countries in need of
assistance, and coordinate on public health and financial measures.

Global markets had been downbeat due to the severity of the pandemic in the
G20, tensions between the Trump administration and international
counterparts, and weaknesses in the policy responses and preparedness in
various 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 positively
to the call for international cooperation with shares in the US and
Tokyo rising sharply.

In addition to forging consensus on a global response, the G20 platform is
also in the position to help prevent the politicization of the
pandemic. While China starts to get back on track after being hit hard
by COVID-19, it has been sending medical equipment and advisory teams
overseas to assist the countries experiencing the coronavirus outbreak
ordeal in epidemic control. However, the Chinese behavior is often
perceived with a suspicion for the country’s global strategic ambition.
Integrating COVID-19 fighting diplomacy into the G20 framework helps
China to fulfill its international responsibilities as a great power.

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

The WHO is the international institution set up for technical assistance
and coordination of public health policies. However, due to inadequate
funding and insufficient binding power, in practice, the WHO’s role in
promoting global epidemic prevention and control is limited. In light of
the ongoing COVID-19 crisis, a multilateral high-level meeting
involving health ministers and even heads of states shall be called
forth by the United Nations to establish a WHO-centered
coronavirus-fighting global health infrastructure with countries
contributing to WHO’s funding to empower the organization on levels of
logistics, technology, and personnel.

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

  1. Protect global value chains, supply chains and industrial chains through
    international cooperation, helping to stabilize and revitalize the
    global economy.

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

First, restore market confidence. China’s experience demonstrates that
effective prevention and control measures are essential to economic
recovery, while a strong economy is key to resource mobilization. The
G20 is committed to a total of USD 5 billion in support measures.
However, given the remaining uncertainties, countries are encouraged to
work with front-line international organizations such the World Bank and
the IMF to deploy more concerted stimulus packages. Central banks and
other financial regulators should step up further to coordinate with
other countries on fiscal and monetary policies and financial
regulations to mitigate the COVID-19 fallout on global financial

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 of
supply chains on medical equipment and PPE in the pandemic, according
to a recent UNCTAD on the impact of COVID-19 on world trade.
Protectionism has been on the rise in recent years and with the ongoing
coronavirus crisis will more likely to exacerbate the already disrupted
supply chains, to the detriment of the world economy. During the
pandemic, developments toward “decoupling” from global value chains
serve no country’s interest, rather, reduction in tariffs and other
barriers to trade and investment shall be countries’ collective call to
strengthen global supply chains in the face of COVID-19 threats.

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

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

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

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

US companies have pledged millions in support efforts to help fight the
virus outbreak in China, showing the commitment of American firms to the
Chinese market. Starbucks, Dow Chemical, and Universal Studios have
even increased investment in China. After his call with President Xi
Jinping on March 27, President Trump tweeted that he had a “very good
conversation” with President Xi and that China had “been through much
and has developed a strong understanding of the virus.” President Xi
also expressed that China was willing to enhance macro-economic policy
coordination with Washington to stabilize markets and shore up growth
amid the pandemic. Afterall, no effort against the coronavirus – whether
to save American lives at home or combat the disease abroad — will be
successful without some degree of cooperation between the United States
and China, as over 90 US foreign policy advisors exhort in an open

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

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

Led by automobile manufacturers, many large multinational companies around
the world recently reconfigured their production lines to medical
manufacturing. Fiat Chrysler Automotive Group announced that one of its
subsidiaries, Comau, is planning for mask production in China, with an
expected production of more than 1 million per month. Kia Motors
revealed that it is considering converting its factory in Yancheng,
China, to make masks. Spain’s MANGO and Sweden’s H & M have also
announced that their global factories will be used to produce masks and
other medical supplies, which will be donated to medical workers in

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

  1. 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.

People in conflict zones and unstable areas with weakened healthcare systems,
such as Syria, Afghanistan, and Yemen, are especially vulnerable from
the pandemic. United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres has
appealed for global ceasefire, calling for communication and
negotiations among parties to decrease conflict and enhance

In addition, the coronavirus is spreading in African, South and Southeast
Asian countries, where many localities have underdeveloped healthcare
and infrastructure, hampering their ability to fight the pandemic. The
United Nations, World Bank, IMF and other multilateral organizations
should increase aid to developing countries and conflict areas to avoid
COVID-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. To
them, lockdown is a privilege. As the disease was spread by the rich as
they flew around the globe, it is only a matter of time that it is
killing millions of the poor if the international community fails to
act. This will be a collective shame on humanity. Multilateral agencies,
especially those under the United Nations, need to marshal support from
member states to step up efforts in humanitarian relief and capacity
building in those failed states, conflict zones, and developing and
under-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 world
immediately after its scientists identified the COVID-19 virus strain
back in January, which provided a solid foundation for further research
and development of effective vaccines. The Joint Briefing on China’s
experience on COVID-19, a knowledge sharing platform established jointly
by China’s National Health Commission and the WHO has organized 30
virtual sessions to engage COVID-19 experts from 180 countries and 10
plus international and regional organizations on the treatment and
control plans experimented in China. As the virus quickly spread all
over the world, global information sharing is becoming a key for the
next step in response to the ongoing outbreak.

On the other hand, vaccine development is a difficult and time-consuming
process with all kinds of uncertainties. China has made its findings in
COVID-19 vaccine development open for the global community. In the
meantime, Chinese companies are collaborating with their international
counterparts in different approaches to vaccine development. Examples
include a DNA vaccine project with Inovio, an American company; an mRNA
vaccine program with German drug developer BioNTech; a recombinant
protein vaccine with British pharmaceutical company GlaxoSmithKline
(GSK). Countries should keep promoting knowledge-sharing in the future
to accelerate the process of vaccine development. Organizations like
Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI) also merit
greater international attention and funding support from the leading
countries 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 cities
with 138 countries. Twin cities have become major channels and platforms
for 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 test
kits to 16 countries includes South Korea, Japan, Iran, Italy, Pakistan,
Iraq, France, Switzerland, and Germany. Civil organizations such as
oversea students’ associations and chambers of commerce are also
offering help to hard-hit regions.

The public and civil society are an important force in international
anti-epidemic cooperation and an important supplement to
intergovernmental cooperation. When the epidemic broke out in China,
foreign companies and NGOs, including the majority of overseas Chinese
and other actors, donated resources to China. As COVID-19 spreads
globally, Chinese multinationals, charitable organizations, and social
groups should reciprocate. The Chinese authorities can open up a “green
channel” to expedite exports of privately donated PPE. In the face of
growing anti-Chinese sentiment around the world, Chinese diasporas can
continue to play a large role in helping their host communities fight
coronaries by mobilizing resources, sourcing demand and supply, and
coordinating logistic conduits.

Big businesses in China have been quick in practicing corporate social
responsibility during the pandemic. China’s tech giant Huawei, for
example, has donated 10,000 N95 masks, 20,000 isolation gowns, 50,000
medical goggles and 10,000 gloves to the State of New York. Jack Ma
Foundation, Alibaba Public Welfare Foundation, and Ali Cloud and Ali
Health have played to their respective advantages, cooperating with
first-line doctors in China to provide clinical experience in the
prevention and treatment of coronavirus, and launching free online
medical consultation services for overseas Chinese. Furthermore, two
foundations have announced donations of 11.8 million masks and 1.7
million kits to Japan, South Korea, Italy, Spain, the United States, and

Faced with a shortage of global anti-epidemic medical materials, medical and
healthcare equipment companies should also strengthen cooperation to
greatly increase production capacity and production efficiency to ensure
the availability of medical supplies.

  1. Safeguard global food trade and boost cooperation via regional and multilateral
    institutions 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 at
risk of a looming food crisis. Although we haven’t yet seen major food
shortages, logistic bottlenecks have already been seen, and disruptions
in food supply chains are expected. Other recent natural disasters have
increased pressures on food security.

A major exporter of wheat and flour, Kazakhstan suspended exports of
buckwheat, sugar, potatoes, carrots, onions and cabbages until at least
April 15 in response to growing coronavirus fears. Similar moves to
secure domestic food security are happening across the world: Vietnam
halted newly-signed rice contracts; Serbia banned export of certain
agricultural products, included sunflower oil; Russia is still
conducting weekly assessments on the situation and reserves the decision
for further action.

Responding to the pandemic requires countries to take measures together to keep
global trade on stables and agricultural goods active. Instead of taking
response measures in the form of protectionism, governments are
encouraged to ease export restrictions to mitigate the virus’s impact on
vulnerable food supply chains.

Agents such as FAO, IFAD (International Fund for Agricultural Development) and
WFP (World Food Programme) are expected to play leading roles in the
fight against the virus-caused food threat. Multilateral organizations
like the G20, APEC, OECD, and the African Union also share
responsibilities. In order to protect food security, countries should
continue promoting cooperation on a global scale to assist countries hit
hard by the virus or already affected by lack of food security.

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

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

Viruses know neither borders nor ethnicities. Once they strike, no country can
stand alone. The outbreak is a natural warning to all of humankind.
Protectionism, unilateralism, and geopolitics hinder sustainable human
development. It is vital to form a new type of international relations
featuring humanitarian values and a sense of common destiny for the
world to address the existing threats from terrorism, climate change,
and COVID-19 and prepare for future crises. Today, as members of
international community jointly battles the coronavirus, it can be an
opportune time to build solidarity and seek a global approach to both
the 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 to
epidemic control measures that were deemed extreme to curb the spread of
COVID-19. These approaches, summarized in this report, turned out
necessary and effective. During the Chinese battle against coronavirus,
governments, civil society organizations, multinationals from over 60
countries and 7 international organizations poured medical equipment and
protective gears in hospitals in Wuhan and other hard-hit areas.
Chinese hearts were deeply touched by the benevolence expressed through
verses like “Across the mountains and foreign lands, the wind and moon
under 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)” on
boxes full of masks sent by Japanese donors. After having passed its
worst and embarked on resumption of economic activities, it is China’s
turn to requite kindness.

In an interconnected world, a pandemic spares no country.  This sense of
urgency has been expressed by many international observers, including
Henry Kissinger, “No country, not even the U.S., can in a purely
national effort overcome the virus. Addressing the necessities of the
moment must ultimately be coupled with a global collaborative vision and
program. If we cannot do both in tandem, we will face the worst of
each. “ Whereas in China, some described the COVID-19 outbreak as “China plays in the
first half and the rest of the world play in the second half”, but China
must play the full game till end. Victory cannot be claimed as long as
there are countries ill-prepared for outbreak. The coronavirus episode
is still unfolding as the speed of community transmission accelerates in
different parts of the world and neither drugs nor vaccine will be
available on the horizon. The massive financial, economic, and social
impacts, however, are already being felt by markets, jobs, and
livelihoods across the globe. The recent cyber convention of G20 leaders
sent a very clear message: let’s act fast, now, together.

Center for China and Globalization (CCG)