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British chamber welcomes new COVID efforts; firms cutting risks

By LIU ZHIHUA | China Daily | Updated: 2022-12-09 07:30

A Jaguar car on display during an expo in Shanghai. [ZHANG WEI/CHINA DAILY]

The British Chamber of Commerce in China has welcomed the Chinese government's recent optimization of COVID-19 policies.

During an online media launch of the organization's annual report on business sentiment in China on Thursday, Julian MacCormac, chair of the chamber, said: "The measures that have recently been announced are very, very welcome. It's something that we as a chamber have been asking for — greater clarity, measures to really help us understand first what the business environment will be like next year, and that's really what members have been calling for. We've got commitment to act. That's very, very welcome."

His remarks follow China's further changes to its COVID-19 control policies, effected through a 10-point notice released on Wednesday.

High-risk areas should be accurately defined by building, unit, floor and household, and must not be arbitrarily expanded to entire residential complexes and neighborhoods. Any form of temporary lockdowns is prohibited, the notice stated.

The new measures have also reduced scenarios requiring mandatory nucleic acid tests, including for people traveling within the country.

They also allow infected people with mild or no symptoms to quarantine at home.

According to MacCormac, the new measures present very positive changes.

Besides, as the virus is believed to have become less serious in terms of its impact, provided people are vaccinated, the chamber hopes that the impact of COVID-19 infections on businesses will not be as significant as it has been so far, he said.

Businesses, however, need to manage potential new risks from any possible rise in infections carefully, he said.

Companies are also actively studying approaches used overseas and whether they could be adopted in China, he said.

The chamber's business sentiment report, based on a survey conducted from Oct 12 to Nov 4, showed businesses continue to be impressed by China's market potential, demand in China for British products, and the opportunity to provide unique product offerings — key reasons that underpin their commitment to the China market.

British businesses continue to view technological innovation as the area of greatest opportunity in China. Some 48 percent of the respondents of the survey said they see the China factor having a positive impact on their business next year. The corresponding figure in the previous survey was lower at 45 percent.

China's progress on decarbonization is similarly viewed highly favorably, moreso among large multinationals that are more likely to have the resources and expertise to better tap into this long-term trend, the report said.

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