Berlin / Beijing (dpa) – German industry fears negative consequences for its business due to strict entry regulations in China. The executive director of the Federal Association of German Industry (BDI), Joachim Lang, said in Berlin.
“There is a risk that the new obligation to perform multiple tests, especially on flights with transit stations, will make important business trips completely impossible.” In practice, the restrictions meant a de facto entry freeze for many companies. China is one of Germany’s most important trading partners.
In light of the increase in corona infections in many countries, China has also tightened its entry requirements for Germany. China’s Foreign Ministry spoke of a temporary measure. Since Friday, travelers from Germany and other countries particularly affected by the pandemic have had to present a negative corona and antibody test, which should not be older than 48 hours, before taking a flight to China.
Test results must also be verified by Chinese embassies or consulates prior to departure. And if a stopover is made in another country, travelers cannot simply change trains, but must repeat the procedure there. In any case, everyone entering China must be retested after arriving in China and in a quarantine hotel for 14 days.
Lang said the new regulations put great pressure on German industry businesses in the important Chinese market. “Engineers cannot put systems into operation, service technicians cannot guarantee their smooth operation, sales staff cannot advise and serve their Chinese customers on the spot,” said the managing director of BDI. “The consequences of the restrictions in the medium and long term are at the expense of our company.”
Governments must work to stop the rapid spread of the corona virus, Lang said. “Our globalized and integrated world, however, depends on the unrestricted movement of people, even in times of pandemic.”
The European Chamber of Commerce in China also criticized the stricter rules. “While technically the door remains open, these changes unfortunately mean a de facto entry ban for anyone attempting to return to their life, work and family in China,” he said in a statement.
In many countries, test results may not be available within 48 hours and antibody tests are not widely used. The fact that the results need to be verified by embassy staff within the deadline “increases the uncertainty,” according to the EU Chamber. To make matters worse, due to restrictions on changing planes, a direct flight must now be booked, while airlines have canceled most routes.
China had largely controlled the virus with strict measures such as mass testing, strict quarantine, exact tracking of contact persons, and entry restrictions. The most populous country in the world, where the first infections with the coronavirus were known in December last year, has had only a few local outbreaks for months.