BEIJING — Business leaders around the world have expressed confidence in China’s leading role in the global supply chain in an increasingly interconnected world economy.
Although the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak has sparked concerns of global supply chain disruption, business leaders have recently told Xinhua that China boasts an effective workforce and a vertically integrated supply chain, and its commitment to high-level safety standards and quality has made it irreplaceable.
“We are relying on our partners in China. The manufacturing cannot be moved quickly or easily, because there are so many safety standards to be observed,” said Steve Pasierb, president and CEO of the US Toy Association, a New York-based non-profit trade group for the US toy industry.
Noting that China manufactures about 85 percent of toy products sold in the United States, Pasierb said that safety is more important than cost control for his industry, and Chinese manufacturers have proven themselves capable of supplying cost-effective products that meet a full set of regulations.
“Manufacturing partners in China are true partners. They’re not only making the product, they work with our companies to make the product better,” said Pasierb, adding that “meaningful, true collaborative partnership” with Chinese suppliers has made US toy makers more profitable.
For Jean-Paul Agon, chairman and CEO of L’Oreal Group, China’s competitive advantage in the global supply chain is built on quality, innovation and sustainability.
“Therefore, we are confident in China’s resilience and long-term competence and competitiveness,” said Agon.
Thanks to China’s drastic and rigorous prevention and control measures against the epidemic, the overall tally of new cases of confirmed COVID-19 infections nationwide has gradually declined.
As a result, in a key meeting on Feb 23, China called on the public to return to work and for the orderly resumption of large-scale production in a bid to achieve its social and economic development goals this year.
As of Monday, China’s manufacturing heartland Guangdong Province has seen 91.2 percent of firms resume operation, according to official data.
The province, a major magnet for migrant workers from other provinces, also saw the return of 6.94 million non-local workers.
In the Yangtze River Delta integration demonstration zone in China’s east, a manufacturing hub of complex industrial chains, 96 percent of large-scale industrial enterprises there have resumed operations by Feb 26, according to local authorities.
In an interview with the FOX network that aired on Friday, Apple Inc CEO Tim Cook said that factories in China are returning to normal, and he is “very optimistic” about China’s ability to get the epidemic under control.
“I think of this as the third phase in getting back to normal, and we’re in phase three of the ramp mode,” he said.
Despite the temporary impact of the COVID-19 epidemic on economic activities in China, business leaders have expressed confidence that the Chinese economy and the global economy will recover soon after the epidemic subsides, and in the long run, China’s ability to attract foreign investment will not be dampened.
“We have no indication of our American companies, our members leaving China at all. Rather, many companies are increasing their investments in the country,” Craig Allen, president of the US-China Business Council, said recently at a press conference.
The confidence in China’s future economic performance mainly derives from its commitment to investing in technology and sustainable development, which is conducive to future economic development, said John Denton, secretary general of the International Chamber of Commerce.
Calling China’s strong investment in green technology and renewable energy encouraging, Denton said that when the outbreak is under control, China’s economic activity will resume steadily and investors will seek out opportunities in these and other areas.