Coro­n­avirus is now infecting much more than Humans

The virus has got into the financial system and much like the spread from human to human, such is the interconnection between economies around the world, it is only a matter of time before one affected economy impacts another.

Trinidad & To­ba­go is not excluded from this.

China, where the virus originated, has many interests in this country and this is not new. Since Trinidad & To­ba­go recognised the People’s Republic of China in June 1974, the east Asian country has played a pivotal role in the infrastructural de­vel­op­ment of the nation.

In the last two decades, it was Chinese companies that built the National Acad­e­my for the Per­form­ing Arts (north and south), the Cou­va Chil­dren’s Hos­pi­tal, Na­tion­al Cy­cling Velo­drome and Na­tion­al Aquat­ic Cen­tre as Trinidad & To­ba­go jumped on the “Belt & Road Initiative.”

The spread of the coro­n­avirus, how­ev­er, it has raised concerns about its present slate of projects ongoing across the country, and there are many.

Chinese companies are the con­trac­tors for projects such as the new 540-bed Cen­tral Block at the Port of Spain Gen­er­al Hos­pi­tal, the Phoenix In­dus­tri­al Park and the Curepe High­way In­ter­change.

How­ev­er, concerns whether these projects will stall and go in­to cost over­runs in the wake of the coro­n­avirus out­break have been quelled with a Chi­nese of­fi­cial telling the Busi­ness Guardian all the projects are moving ahead at its nor­mal pace as most of the man­pow­er on these in­fra­struc­tur­al sites are local labour and do not depend on im­port­ing Chinese workers.

Fur­ther to that, Chi­na Cen­tral Tele­vi­sion cor­re­spon­dent Peng Zhe, who visited Trinidad & To­ba­go this week said the relationship between the two countries will not be affected because of the coro­n­avirus.

He said the popular “Made in China” stamp has taken a hit during the outbreak and how fast it recovers is left to be seen.

Chi­na is the largest exporter of goods in the world followed by the United States.

“This shouldn’t be a problem because the ‘Made in China’ prod­ucts ac­tu­al­ly have been making progress over the last decade,” Zhe said.

“This has been commonly known in the In­ter­na­tion­al business arena so I think that should not be a con­cern and I don’t think that there is any sign that the coro­n­avirus could bring the ‘Made in Chi­na’ prod­ucts down es­pe­cial­ly the qual­i­ty of it,” he stat­ed.

This country im­ports a lot of prod­ucts from Chi­na in­clud­ing elec­tron­ic equip­ment, ma­chin­ery, iron, steel, plastics and furniture.

On a global level, Zhe told CNC3’s View ­Point one on one show, he doesn’t ex­pect that Chi­na’s re­la­tion­ship with its glob­al part­ners to change much be­cause of the coro­n­avirus.

“From my per­spec­tive, I would be very op­ti­mistic about the bi­lat­er­al re­la­tion­ship be­tween econ­o­my and trade between Chi­na and Trinidad & To­ba­go,” Zhe said.

He went fur­ther to ex­plain: “I think the part­ner­ships won’t re­al­ly change but the busi­ness­es and the trade deals could per­haps be af­fect­ed in one way or the oth­er be­cause some business­es will really slow down the progress of projects or some com­pa­nies are re­al­ly short staffed at the mo­ment, so I think that can be a chal­lenge for the com­pa­nies and it brings chal­lenges to the cor­po­ra­tion but I wouldn’t say that would affect the partnership as a whole in China and in any other country.”

While the number of cases has been rising in Europe and the United States, this week China recorded its slowest daily increase in coro­n­avirus figures in six weeks.

Editor’s Note: The article reflects the author’s opinion only, and not necessarily the views of editorial opinion of Belt & Road News.