Coronavirus Is a Business Opportunity: US Secretary of Commerce


Human Wrongs Watch

The official’s comments disregard the fact that as of Thursday, there have been 8,137 confirmed cases of Wuhan coronavirus in mainland China, including 171 deaths.

U.S. Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross at the 50th World Economic Forum annual meeting in Davos, Switzerland, Jan. 22, 2020.U.S. Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross at the 50th World Economic Forum annual meeting in Davos, Switzerland, Jan. 22, 2020. | Photo: Reuters (Photo posted here from teleSUR‘s article).

30 January 2020 (teleSUR)* — The United States Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross said Thursday during an interview with Fox News that the coronavirus outbreak could be a good thing for the U.S. economy as it would bring back jobs.

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“The fact is, it does give business yet another thing to consider when they go through their review of their supply chain,” said Ross, adding that “it’s another risk factor that people need to take into account. So I think it will help to accelerate the return of jobs to North America.”

The official’s business-minded comments disregard the fact that as of Thursday, there have been 8,137 confirmed cases of Wuhan coronavirus in mainland China, including 171 deaths.

Despite Ross’ projection, the effect of the new virus might affect the world’s economy in a general manner. During the SARS outbreak in 2002 and 2003, the world’s economy lost nearly US$40 billion;  and the new coronavirus has already infected more people in China than SARS did.

However, for economist Shang-Jin Wei, from New York’s Columbia Business Schoool, “the virus will have only a limited negative economic impact” in China itself.

The expert bases his estimate in three important factors may limit the virus’s impact: the fact China is now in the internet commerce age so offline sales won’t take a toll in overall transactions; the virus is less deadly than SARS, and that “fortunately” after signing phase one of the U.S.-China trade deal “China can simultaneously tackle the health crisis and fulfill its promise under the deal to import more goods.”

Yet markets have been spooked since news of the virus emerged earlier this month.

Companies have also been rattled, such as Alphabet Inc’s Google and Sweden’s IKEA which were the latest to temporarily close their Chinese operations. South Korea’s Samsung Electronics Co Ltd extended its Lunar New Year holiday closure for some Chinese production facilities.

International airlines have suspended flights to mainland China including United Airlines, Iberia, Air France, Lufthansa, Air Canada, American Airlines and British Airways.

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