Pandemic hits Samoa and China trade

Bilateral cooperation and trade between Samoa and China in the post-COVID-19 period will be affected by the current international border closure.

But this will open the door for more online and e-commerce activity, according to a Chinese Embassy spokesperson.

Speaking to the Samoa Observer following the release of a statement by China’s National Bureau of Statistics, the Apia-based spokesperson said China's economy bounced back to growth in the second quarter this year as the country gradually resumed work and production after containing COVID-19.

"In the past several years, China's economy has always made great contributions to the development of the world economy and this time is no exception," she said. "If we achieve economic recovery which appears in the G.D.P expansion it will certainly contribute to the development of the world's economy as a whole.”

According to a press release issued by the Embassy, in the first half of this year the country's G.D.P. stood at 45.66 trillion yuan [about US$6.53 trillion] amid the COVID-19 impact and was down 1.6 per cent year on year. 

A breakdown of the data showed the output of the primary industry rose 0.9 per cent year on year, while the service sector and the secondary industry saw a decline of 1.6 per cent and 1.9 per cent, respectively.

The Embassy's spokesperson said China's economic development will make a good foundation for the battle against COVID-19 worldwide.

"In the last several months, though China was combating the domestic epidemic, we still offer help to many developing countries worldwide. When our economy retrieves its robust development tendency then we will have a greater capacity to help," she said.

"The development of China's economy will provide more pragmatic cooperation opportunities in various fields such as trade and investments."

When asked how this will benefit Samoa, the Embassy spokesperson explained that due to Samoa and China's cooperation and trade, when China's economy regains its robust developing momentum, the imports from China may be cheaper.

"It will attract more investments from China but now there are border closure and flight suspensions so our bilateral exchange may be hindered a little bit, but in the future may be more like online and e-commerce format will be like a developing tendency," she said.

She further explained that China has several ongoing projects in Samoa, including the China-Samoa Friendship Park, the Samoa Arts and Culture Center and the Samoa-China Agricultural Technical Aid Project.

"Even during the epidemic, those projects were not suspended. We overcame minor difficulties and we very cautiously obeyed the rules here including the social distancing. We strictly obeyed the social distance rules," she added.

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