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Liberians poised to reap gains from eased travel

By NICHOLAS D. NIMLEY in Monrovia, Liberia | China Daily Global | Updated: 2023-01-10 09:27
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Businesspeople in Liberia have welcomed the optimization of China's COVID-19 policy, which they say will boost trade between the two countries.

From Sunday, inbound visitors have been able to enter the Chinese mainland without undergoing quarantine, as part of measures carried out by China to adjust its COVID-19 policy and facilitate international travel.

Members of the Liberia-China Businesswomen Organization have been delighted by the policy change. Most of the group's members in the West African country have been importing products from China — mainly textiles, shoes and clothing — for over a decade.

They are optimistic that the latest measures will make the global supply chain more effective.

Over the past three years, most of these business owners in Liberia have had to purchase goods from China online because of pandemic restrictions. The goods often took months to arrive.

Doris Kollie, an executive member of the organization, said the policy change has greatly encouraged the members of her organization.

"It's a great relief for everyone, because our businesses were greatly affected by the impact of the health crisis," she said. The organization's members are preparing to return to China soon, she said.

Guangzhou, an economic hub in the southern Chinese province of Guangdong, is a favorite destination for entrepreneurs from Liberia.

But Kollie said that it will take time for Liberian businesspeople to start returning to China because of a lack of capital resulting from the strains caused by the pandemic.

"We got the news almost at the end of December 2022, about China's optimization (of COVID-19 policy), so my businesswomen colleagues and I are happy about the news," she said.

'Good news'

Victoria Kun, a young entrepreneur who had turned to Eastern Europe for goods, said: "With the announcement (of the eased policy), that is good news for us. Now, I can prepare before April this year to travel there for the first time in three years."

Helena Welleh Nah, who trades in clothing and shoes, is hoping to come to China for the first time.

"I usually go to Turkiye, and most businesspeople have been going there recently. But you know, China is the place all Liberian businesswomen go for their goods. So I am joining their organization this time around, and to go along with them to see the market there for myself," Nah said.

The writer is a freelance journalist for China Daily.

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