Facilitating the speedy return of our member company employees and their families is a top priority for the Chamber. Since China’s March 28 announcement effectively closing the border to non-Chinese citizens, AmCham Shanghai has been working closely with member companies and authorities from both governments on this issue. We are also communicating with the other international chambers in Shanghai as well as AmCham China in Beijing.
As you know, we conducted a survey last week to assess the size of the problem. Over 200 of our 1,400 or so member companies responded, indicating at least 2,500 foreign executives and dependents are outside China in need of re-entry. Therefore, the total number of our members affected by the travel restrictions is likely even greater, and the negative impact on our businesses is severe. International schools are also facing a critical shortage of teachers due to the current limitations.
I want to thank the members who took the time to fill out the survey, and especially those who added notes to describe the business impact from the border closure. This detail is helpful to us in our dialogue with Chinese government officials.
With this information, we have delivered a letter to Shanghai Vice Mayor Xu Kunlin. We also briefed Ambassador Terry Branstad on this issue when he met with our Board here in Shanghai last Friday. Again, our goal is to get our members and their families back to China as quickly as possible.
Naturally, we also support China’s continuing measures to control the spread of COVID-19. We will be understanding and supportive of any quarantine, testing, and other measures required of all people entering China. It is not yet clear if self-quarantine and other conveniences will be available to members entering China, and the quarantine will almost certainly be the full 14 days regardless of test results.
Once we have a clear idea of what the procedures will be, AmCham will contact members to offer services that will guide them through the application process. There will be a nominal administrative fee. In addition, we are looking into charter flights that could be offered through our member companies. We will provide additional details as more information becomes available.
While this is a high priority for the Chamber, I want to be clear that at this point, we cannot promise or guarantee re-entry for members. We are working closely with the Consulate and we will do our absolute best to get people back to work and reunited with their families. Our staff is working daily on this effort and we have cause for optimism, but the situation is challenging and complicated.
Here in Shanghai, our community and our businesses have come out of the pandemic strong. AmCham Shanghai member companies have played an important role in the restarting of the economy, and we are grateful to the Shanghai government as well as officials across the Yangtze River Delta for enabling the speedy re-opening of American businesses. We have accomplished this by acting patiently and deliberately, and through cooperation with one another. Let’s continue these efforts and continue to stay safe and healthy.