Letter to Members from President Wuttke Go back »

2020-02-14 | All chapters

Letter to Members from President Wuttke

On behalf of European Chamber President Joerg Wuttke

Dear members,

Like all of you, the European Chamber has encountered significant challenges due to the outbreak of the novel coronavirus, now officially named COVID-19. I am proud to say we are successfully navigating these choppy waters, keeping our operations going and continuing to serve our members as our top priority.

We have been providing you with the most up-to-date information and policies related to the novel coronavirus through our newly developed ‘Focus on the COVID-19online platform, to help reduce the potential risks and challenges of operating and living in China during these challenging times. We have also developed a forum for our members to share insights and in-depth analysis of the situation.

The European Chamber was quick to answer the call of central and local governments to provide a conduit for our members to help relieve the heavy demands now being placed on China’s healthcare system. Many of you are already actively involved in areas where European suppliers can help fill critical gaps, and a significant and growing number have been actively supporting the Chinese government’s efforts by donating resources. So far, more than 100 companies have done so, and the Chamber has shared this information with our Chinese counterparts.

By also leveraging our global European Business Organisation (EBO) network and the EU SME Centre, we have helped to leverage global supply chains even further to help address the ongoing shortage of medical supplies.

Looking forward, with everyone resuming work either physically or remotely, our working groups will continue with preparations for the annual Position Paper; other working group activities will proceed as planned, conducted online via Zoom; and our working group elections will also go ahead, using an online channel called Election Runner. Those involved in our working groups should expect to hear from us soon with further details.

We have continued to fulfil our mission not only in China, but also overseas, despite travel restrictions and other obstacles that were thrown our way. Our annual EU Tour at the start of February underwent significant changes, but went ahead nonetheless, and we were successful in making our members’ voices heard. Despite taking a reduced delegation and undertaking self-quarantine measures, the European Commission put out an order to cancel all of our meetings within their institution as a precautionary measure, but this did not stop our delegates from pursuing every other avenue to push our messaging in Brussels. The 14-strong delegation still met with the Chinese ambassador to the EU, the vice president of the European Parliament along with three other VIPs, plus many NGOs, EU Council ambassadors and media.

Operationally, the Chamber has kept its main offices open, as allowed under local regulations, while implementing work from home/virtual office solutions where needed. We have five response teams in place, and standard operating procedures have been developed to ensure our staff and members remain safe. Our staff has come together in an extremely positive way, coming up innovative ways to share information and support each other, the government and our members.

We will continue to serve our members, while adapting to developments, and we look forward to a full return to normal operations, hopefully in the not-so-distant future.

In the meantime, if you have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to reach out to us.


Joerg Wuttke