European Chamber's COVID-19 Support and Advocacy Go back »

2020-06-09 | All chapters

European Chamber's COVID-19 Support and Advocacy


From the outset of the COVID-19 outbreak, the European Chamber has been encouraging and facilitating donations and support to China and the EU, maintaining frequent, direct communication with government, organising numerous webinars, and providing vital policy information to members and the public.


I. COVID-19 Outbreak in China: Encouraging and Facilitating Donations and Support

The State Council announced the extension of the Chinese New Year Holiday in an effort to contain the virus outbreak by reducing the travel of individuals. During the extended holiday period, the European Chamber began facilitating donations of equipment and expertise from its member companies, and provided support to the Chinese government all across China.

II. Epidemic Prevention and Control, and Work Resumption

The Chamber used surveys and interviews to understand the key issues being faced by member companies. The Chamber then set about providing recommendations and solutions, facilitating direct access for members to raise their challenges with government officials, and continually providing policy updates.

III. Stabilising China’s Economy, Dealing with the Outbreak in Europe

  • Webinars with Central and Local Governments

On 18th February, the MOFCOM released the Notice on Keeping Foreign Trade, Foreign Investment Stable and Stimulating Consumption in response to the COVID-19 epidemic.

When inspecting the coordination mechanisms of foreign trade and investment on 13th March, Premier Li Keqiang stressed that "the more difficult it is, the more efforts China will make to expand reform and opening-up".

On the same day, a conference call with the MOFCOM, joined by multiple departments, was organised by the Chamber to address members’ questions and understand latest policies. As follow up, a series of webinars with local authorities took place.

  • Webinars with International Organisations and EU Officials

The Chamber also hosted international organisations like World Health Organization (WHO), the World Bank and the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB), as well as EU officials, to share their views via webinars on how to deal with the crisis through joint efforts.

  • Facilitating Donations to Europe and Conveying Positive Messages on Social Media

As the crisis shifted to Europe, the Chamber began calling for donations that had previously flooded from Europe into China to go in the opposite direction. A social media campaign was also launched to emphasise the good work being done to combat COVID-19, and to counter some of the increasingly negative rhetoric that had begun to gather pace.

  • Direct Communication with Central Government to Voice Concerns from Member Companies

Travel restrictions were tightened around the world, and China imposed a ban on the return of foreign nationals to China. Limitations placed on certain exports were also impeding the provision of vital equipment to countries in Europe. The Chamber sought ways to bring back key employees and their families to China, in order to get companies fully operational, find solutions to industries being impacted by supply chain disruptions and get critically-needed supplies moving again.

  • Providing Valuable Information to Members and the Public During the Travel Ban

Since the closure of its borders to foreign nationals on 28th March, the European Chamber has advocated strongly for their gradual re-opening—while ensuring that the strictest health and safety standards are adhered to—to enable European company employees and their families to get back to China and participate in getting China’s economy back on its feet.

IV. Active Media Engagement

From the beginning of the outbreak, the Chamber’s advocacy work has been supplemented by strong media engagement. Chamber spokespeople have been extremely active, providing updates on the current situation, expressing the challenges faced by European businesses in China and ensuring that accurate information is shaping the overall media narrative.

By mid-May, the Chamber was quoted on the topic of COVID-19 in 316 articles by international media and 100 articles by domestic media. Among the top-5 media outlets, the Chamber was mentioned in seven Bloomberg articles, three Financial Times articles, seven New York Times articles, five Reuters articles and five Wall Street Journal articles.

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