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Resumption of business in "World's Supermarket" brings certainty to int'l trade of small commodities

  • Source: Xinhua
  • Mar.23,2020

Located in the eastern Chinese province of Zhejiang, the city of Yiwu sells commodities to more than 210 countries and regions every year and is therefore dubbed the "World's Supermarket."

After a short hiatus in business due to the COVID-19 outbreak, the Yiwu International Trade Market (YITM) and other commodity markets have revived their vitality thanks to the effective containment of the epidemic in China.

On a single day on Tuesday, more than 100,000 people, including 30,100 purchasers from around the world, visited the YITM market after going through body temperature tests and other prevention and control measures.

For Veronica Larrauri, a Mexican merchant who has lived in the city for three years, China's performance in containing the epidemic is impressive and the orderly resumption of normal economic operation has brought good news.

"Many clients were concerned about the epidemic situation in China, and what I can do is showing them that we are already working and the stores are open so that they could have confidence," Larrauri said.

At the request of some Mexican clients, Larrauri visited many suppliers and were told that the stores were fully prepared for business and have plentiful commodities in stock.

"After visiting some suppliers, I gained more confidence and everything made me feel more reassured," said the Mexican merchant, who is among some 15,000 foreign merchants from over 100 countries and regions stationed in Yiwu.

After graduating in international trade in Mexico, Larrauri worked in a Mexican logistics company and visited Yiwu for the first time.

During that visit, she was surprised by the abundance of business opportunities and therefore decided to stay. In 2017, Larrauri set up an import and export company with seven employees in Mexico City while she takes charge of purchasing gifts, jewelry or promotional products in Yiwu for clients from Mexico, Honduras, the United States, Australia and so on.

From January to November in 2019, Yiwu's total foreign trade exports reached 256.98 billion yuan (about 36.7 billion U.S. dollars), up 9.8 percent year-on-year, data from Yiwu Customs have shown.

Of this figure, 33.93 billion yuan (about 4.8 billion dollars) worth of goods were exported to Latin America, accounting for 13.2 percent of Yiwu's total exports.

According to Zhang Qizhen, deputy general manager of Zhejiang China Commodities City Group, the YITM serves as an important link in global commodity trade and its resumption of business will help revitalize world trade amid the pandemic.

"Worldwide suppliers and buyers can feel safe to do business in the markets and in Yiwu city," Zhang said.

"The resumption of business at the Yiwu markets has reactivated commercial contacts between the Chinese city and other countries, giving certainty to the world market of small commodities," said Tang Jun, associate professor at Jiangxi University of Finance and Economics, echoing Zhang's words.

On the supply side, with the intensive introduction of burden reduction policies by the central and local governments, many small and medium-sized enterprises in China have gradually resumed work and production.

Amapola Grijalva, president of the Mexico-China Chamber of Commerce and Technology, appreciates the prompt measures taken by the Chinese government to support the resumption of production by Chinese companies.

"The whole world can learn some valuable experience from these," she said.

For Larrauri, the YITM is not just a building, but a window showing opportunities that connect the whole world.

"My clients have told me that they feel more reassured and now we hope that the factories are going to work completely. Then, I will have more business," she said.