Normally, German medium-sized companies are rather reluctant to criticize China. No one wants to spoil themselves in the important market. But about 20 bosses and managers of machine and plant manufacturers are now venting their anger about the corona entry restrictions in personal statements with unusual openness.
A company boss from Düren in Lower Saxony complains about an "inhumane quarantine situation" in China on the website of the Association of German Machine and Plant Manufacturers (VDMA). Quarantine facilities are like "prison". There is talk of an explosion in costs, of delays in setting up or maintaining plants in China, of declines in business in China because there is no contact with customers and suppliers.
Ulrich Ackermann, head of the foreign trade department at the VDMA, does not mince his words either:
Losses and collapsing exports
Around 3500 machine and plant manufacturers are organized in the VDMA. About a quarter have their own companies in China, and many also produce in the People's Republic. While they were still able to record double-digit growth rates in China last year, many companies are expecting stagnation or a decline in business in China this year.
Exports are also suffering: Since the beginning of the year, the export of machines and systems to China has fallen noticeably due to travel restrictions – by 8.5 percent to 5.9 billion euros from January to April.
A "patchwork" of regulations
But there is no sign of a change in the strict Chinese entry regulations and complicated visa rules. At the end of June, the Chinese authorities reduced the quarantine requirement for travelers to seven days. But whether this will actually be implemented is unclear, says foreign trade expert Ackermann, "because up to now there has been little to rely on the statements made by the regional Chinese authorities and there has been a patchwork of regulations within China."
The supply chains not only worldwide but also within China are still susceptible to disruptions – even with the smallest corona outbreaks, according to Ackermann. In the meantime, many companies are therefore considering whether it is still worthwhile to further expand the hitherto lucrative business with China. A company boss writes that he has put the search for new suppliers in China on hold and is now looking for alternatives outside of China.