US envoy sees China lockdowns extending into 2023

WASHINGTON: China will likely continue to impose sweeping shutdowns through 2023, the U.S. ambassador said Thursday, warning the zero-Covid strategy is hurting business.
“I think we’re going to have to live with this for a long time. My own guess is that we’ll see the continuation of zero-Covid probably until early 2023,” the ambassador said. Nicolas Burne told the Brookings Institution.
Burns, addressing the Washington think tank via video link from Beijing, said the shutdowns were disrupting supply chains and making foreign companies wait before considering new investment.
“It’s just too big a market for countries to leave, so we don’t see a lot of companies leaving stock and barrel,” Burns said.
But from his conversations with corporate America, Burns said, “I think there’s a lot of hesitation to invest in future bonds until they see the end of this.”
The American Chamber of Commerce in Shanghai, in a recent survey, said a quarter of U.S. businesses cut investment plans and almost all cut revenue forecasts after the business center lockdown.
Covid-19 was first detected in the final days of 2019 in the Chinese metropolis of Wuhan, which has seen rare public displays of anger over the government’s failure to stop its spread.
Beijing has since sworn to defeat the global pandemic and is the only major economy trying to prevent any case, imposing mass testing requirements and forcing millions of people at once to stay at home.
Burns said the lockdowns have also hampered diplomacy with China, whose relationship with the United States he recently described as at its lowest since ties were established half a century ago.
“It’s hard to convince any of my colleagues in Washington to come here if I tell them that if they do, they have to self-quarantine for 14 days before they can have a single meeting,” he said. he declares.

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