China is Capable of Minimizing the Impacts Of Epidemic on Economy

On February 18,2020, H.E. Sun Ang, Chinese Ambassador to Antigua and Barbuda published an article on the coronavirus epidemic on the Observer newspaper. As follows:


Since the outbreak of the novel coronavirus pneumonia epidemic, the Chinese government has adopted the most stringent prevention and control measures in a highly responsible manner for the Chinese people and the international community. So far, major progress has been made in that respect. As leaders from various countries and international organizations including the World Health Organization have spoken highly of China's efforts in the fight against the epidemic, recently, Governor-General Sir Rodney Williams and Prime Minister Gaston Browne also wrote letters to Chinese leaders respectively, expressing their firm support for China's battle against the virus. We would like to extend our sincere gratitude for that.

At the same time, concerns have also risen among some companies and media that the epidemic may slow down China's economy and even cause a domino effect leading to major changes to global supply chain, and thus a decline of the world economy. In my opinion, it is not surprising that those concerns emerge, for China's GDP has accounted for 16% of the world economy with more than 30% contribution to world economic growth for years. The situation of China, the "engine" of the world economy, has always been the focus of many. That also reflects how important China's economy is to the world. Now, I would like to talk about four points:


First, the impacts of the epidemic is only temporary. China has mobilized nationwide efforts for epidemic prevention; 31 provinces and cities have activated a first-level response to public health emergencies and two makeshift hospitals have been built and put into use in some 10 days. The overall situation is changing in a positive way. Zhong Nanshan, head of the expert group of China's National Health Commission, said that the novel coronavirus outbreak should hit a peak in mid-to-late February, and end by April. It is noted that for the past 40-year reform and opening up, China's economy has maintained a rapid growth of 8% to 6% for a long time, a rarity in the human history. But this journey of century is by no means an even road. Instead it is more like a challenging cross-country running, a journey that requires the perseverance to surmount a succession of obstacles. Be it in the 1997 Asian financial turmoil or 2008 global financial crisis, be it in the SARS epidemic or avian flu, China has always braved through. Today's epidemic is just one episode in the long-term development of China. It will have temporary impacts, but will never change the development of the Chinese economy in the long run.

Second, China's economy has strong inherent resilience. Such resilience is deeply rooted in the country's national system. Under the centralized and unified leadership of the Chinese Communist Party, China has the ability to mobilize nationwide resources to solve major problems. As it adheres to the people-centered development concept, China never hesitates to adjust its development methods with the times, to innovate management systems and open its door wider to the world. According to the report by the World Economic Forum, the "overall performance" of the Chinese economy has steadily improved in recent years, with indicators as macroeconomic stability and innovation capability keep rising. So China has full space and intrinsic motivation for the long-term development.


Third, the Chinese government has an "economic toolkit" to deal with the impact of the epidemic. After years of supply-side reform and structural adjustments, China's fiscal policy has gained ample space to maneuver, in which the International Monetary Fund and other institutions have all shown much confidence. The Chinese government has recently held several high-level meetings to formulate a road map for the overall epidemic prevention and control, and of the economic and social development, in an effort to minimize the impacts. To this end, China has strengthened its macroeconomic policy adjustments, including increasing expenditure to ensure the need for epidemic prevention and control funds at different levels, cutting taxes and fees to ease the burden of affected enterprises, maintaining a stable and flexible monetary policy, and introducing policies to support small, medium and micro enterprises. By establishing target assistance mechanism for enterprises to respond to the epidemic, China is currently promoting the resumption of work in an orderly way. It is reported that some large enterprises such as Huawei have resumed work.

Fourth, international solidarity and cooperation will be the "propeller" to overcome the epidemic. Some people are worrying about the possible disruption of trade, and fearing that the decrease in China's imports from Latin America will drag down regional economic growth. In fact, as the world's second largest economy, and home to the largest middle-income group in the world, China has a huge market whose potential is yet fully unleashed. Many economists predict that after the epidemic, China's economy will soon transition into the restorative growth, and short-term import and export fluctuations will be finally offset by long-term growth. I believe China's foreign trade, especially China-Latin America and Caribbean trade,will keep growing in the future. As for some concerns that the global industrial chain being affected, actually the chain is closely associated with such long-term variables as natural endowments of countries, global division of labor, technological status, etc, which are deep-seated and structural factors rather than temporary ones. The current global industrial chain is the very result of the past 30-year evolution of the world economy and thus is stable inherently. I believe the maturity of mankind is reflected in the stability and rationality in face of disasters. The deadliest virus is the "virus in mind"; the biggest economic disturbance is the senseless panic and the seek of self-interest at cost of others. As far as I know, that the tourism in Antigua and Barbuda, especially cruise industry, is not affected by the epidemic so far, and the economic and trade cooperation between China and Antigua and Barbuda still shows strong vitality.

As the Chinese President Xi Jinping said, "we have the ability and confidence not only to defeat the epidemic, but also to accomplish the set goals and tasks for economic and social development." China will continue to exert all efforts to prevent and control the epidemic, strengthen cooperation with the international community and restore normal exchanges and cooperation worldwide as soon as possible. Only in this way can China provide strong support for the stable growth of the world economy and release positive messages.

Chinese Embassy, McKinnons Way, St. John’s, Antigua and Barbuda
P.O.BOX 1446, St. John’s, Antigua, W.I.