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World owes a great deal of gratitude to China

Ali Obaid Al Dhaheri (Top Post)
Filed on March 14, 2020 | Last updated on March 14, 2020 at 09.29 pm

The growth in bilateral UAE-China trade across numerous sectors, from clean energy to artificial intelligence, health, education and many more, will offset any challenges.

The recent visit by President Xi Jinping to Wuhan was an important moment in China, rousing and inspiring both the city and the Chinese nation, providing confidence to those making sacrifices as the community pulls together. Here we can see a nation's leadership dealing effectively with the Covid-19 issue and shedding light on the bravery at the front line, which is leading the battle against the coronavirus for the world. The international community owes a great deal of gratitude to China in dealing with this issue so effectively.

There has been a challenging landscape faced by China in recent weeks. Factories initially remained closed following Chinese New Year and little by little, many have slowly reopened with restricted measures. There is no complacency however, with a cautious balance still held and a careful step-by-step approach being taken. Global companies relying on Chinese production have their inventory to rely on, but some supply chains could be impacted. The big picture has seen some household names affected. We now live in an interconnected world where what's good for one is what's good for all. Now that we are in a multipolar world, what affects one part affects each other part of the complex global fabric. China is now one important element of this and the challenges that the country faces will have an effect on the global economy.

China is now a vital component powering the global economic engine and an essential contributor to global GDP. If we run a comparison for the SARS outbreak for example, China contributed about 4 per cent to global GDP in 2003. Now China contributes about 16 per cent to global GDP and is the biggest contributor to annual GDP growth.

China has evolved to create a centre of gravity, powering the world with goods while also moving to a higher level.

This issue has affected China at an inflection point. Its economy is increasingly diverse, as after four decades of historic development, the country's economy moves from a high rate of growth with low-cost manufacturing, to high quality growth driven by innovation.

A stimulus package has been implemented by the Chinese Ministry of Finance to fortify the economy. Measures include introducing tax policies and financial relief measures to aid the economy during the epidemic and the People's Bank of China also has worked to guarantee sufficient liquidity. This is much needed at a time when the International Monetary Fund has downgraded its growth forecasts. Global growth in 2020 will dip below last year's levels. But how far it falls, and how long the impact will be, is difficult to predict.There will be challenges ahead, things won't be easy and recovery will take time. However, slowly and surely things will improve.

When the green shoots of recovery arrive in China, the new concern will move from China production and consumption to global production and consumption outside of China. There could be hotspots in other parts of the world and the issues could change from low supply to low demand - the same parts and goods that were scarce might now shift to China production not being met by demand from countries struggling.

Some of this surplus can contribute to supporting countries currently facing challenges, including Iran and Italy - China is already planning to help countries facing inadequate supplies. As China's production capacity of medical supplies has risen, so they are in a position to help further. For example, daily output of protective suits in China has now reached 500,000 units, marking a surge from less than 20,000 at the beginning of the epidemic. Factories can now make 1.6 million N95 surgical masks every day, up from 200,000 earlier.

The UAE is following the same principles of global support for addressing and dealing with the coronavirus outbreak, and also playing a vital role with essential contributions towards the collective global research effort for a coronavirus vaccine. Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, director-general of the World Health Organization, recently thanked His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, for his support in ensuring the success of an aid mission to affected areas, including 7.5 tonnes of emergency medical supplies and life-saving equipment. In this respect, the UAE has been coordinating with affected countries and has showed solidarity across the global community, with an effective role providing support and aid all around the world.

The aid package, worth Dh1 million, was arranged by the WHO through the Emirates Humanitarian City in Abu Dhabi, delivering supplies to help 15,000 healthcare workers in Iran. The mobilisation of the Emirates Humanitarian City is making effective contributions to China in fighting this virus and is supporting the world, having been set up in just 48 hours. The UAE also has supported China as best it can by deepening healthcare cooperation to support efforts to face this medical challenge. Our country is shipping hundreds of thousands of units of essential goods to affected areas of China, including surgical masks, medical gloves, goggles, and protective clothing, to support the medical effort.

There is an enduring confidence in China's economy, which remains stable. We should collectively be prepared for the challenges this year from the coronavirus and plan accordingly. However, we can be confident that long-term stability is sound and that one of our closest trading partners will soon be in good shape once more.

The growth in bilateral UAE-China trade across numerous sectors, from clean energy to artificial intelligence, health, education and many more, will offset any challenges. Over this coming decade we will see a flourishing relationship for the mutual interest of both parties, as part of a dynamic global economy.

- China Daily

Ali Obaid Al Dhaheri is ambassador of the United Arab Emirates to China


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