China-ASEAN Monitor: Thailand to re-open four ports on the Mekong River to allow essential goods from China
Economy, Investment and Trade
Thailand to re-open four ports on the Mekong River to allow essential goods from China
(3 April 2020) The Thai government has reopened four ports along the Mekong River to allow the trade of essential goods between Thailand and China. The four ports, which include cargo terminals and border crossing, were closed since 21 March to curb the COVID-19 outbreak, leaving only two bridges over the river in the districts of Chiang Kong and Mae Sai open. The Governor of Chiang Rai, Prajon Pratyakul, stated that since the pandemic situation in China has improved, it was safe to resume trade. He also added that the temporary closure of the ports had resulted in cargo pile-up at port terminals and shortages of daily necessities in both Thailand and Myanmar border towns. The ports will be in operation for only three days a week, and travellers will not be allowed entry.
Vietnamese fruit exports to China in first quarter drop by 29.4% year-on-year
(7 April 2020) Vietnamese fruit exports to China in the first quarter of 2020 has dropped by 29.4% year-on-year. The value of exports in the first three months of 2020 dropped to US$300.4 million. This decline in exports was attributed to the backlog of fruits which had built up at the Chinese border due to a lack of processing capacity in China. The Department of Farm Produce Processing and Market Development said that while trade had partially resumed, exports were still suffering. Vietnamese imports have also suffered, experiencing a 30% drop to US$294 million. Chinese, Australian, and Thai exports to Vietnam all dropped by at least 10%.
Chinese officials and health professionals arrive in the Philippines to share technical advice
(5 April 2020) Twelve Chinese officials and health professionals arrived in the Philippines on 5 April to share technical advice on the prevention and control of the COVID-19 pandemic. The Philippines Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire stated that the Chinese officials will coordinate with local medical experts in laboratories and hospitals in the Philippines on improving infection prevention protocols against COVID-19. The experts will be exchanging ideas and information with medical professionals from institutions including the Research Institute of Tropical Medicine in Muntinlupa City, Philippine Lung Center in Quezon City, and San Lazaro Hospital in Manila.
Malaysia purchases 94 ventilators from China
(5 April 2020) A total of 94 ventilators from China were purchased by the Malaysian Health Ministry and were expected to arrive on 5 April. The ventilators were produced and shipped from Shanghai. Malaysian Transport Minister Wee Ka Siong thanked MASkargo and the Chinese government for their invaluable efficiency, support and expertise that led to the expedited shipment. China has been providing support to Malaysia in its efforts to contain the COVID-19 pandemic. China’s Ambassador to Malaysia Bai Tian stated that China was working with Malaysian authorities to actively source and purchase medical supplies to provide to Malaysia, and called upon Chinese companies to provide support to the country as well.
Chinese and Singaporean officials reaffirm commitment to maintain bilateral connectivity
(2 April 2020) Singaporean Trade and Industry Minister Chan Chun Sing and Chinese Minister for Commerce Zhong Shan reaffirmed their commitment to maintain supply chain connectivity between both countries, ensuring the free flow of goods and personnel amidst the COVID-19 pandemic during a teleconference on 2 April. Both sides also discussed the impact of COVID-19 at the regional level, and agreed to explore ways of providing support to regional countries on epidemic prevention and control.