Photo taken on Nov. 7, 2019 shows the Piraeus Port in Greece. (Xinhua/Fei Maohua)
WARSAW, June 12 (Xinhua) -- As the COVID-19 pandemic is fading away in most parts of Europe, the continent is straining to revive its hard-hit economy -- on a bumpy road, as economic forecasts indicated. But signs showed that demands from China are cushioning the shock.
HIGHLY EXPECTED MARKET
When the first shipment of Greek red saffron is finally ready to be exported to China, Vasilis Mitsopoulos, President of the Kozani Saffron Producers Cooperative in Greece, breathed a sigh of relief and hailed that "a dream has come true."
With no intention to hide his ambition, Mitsopoulos acknowledged that the Cooperative's goal is "to gain a market share" in the most populous Asian country.
Export of agricultural food products featured in agreements signed by the two countries' leaders last November. And in May, a joint ministerial decision on kiwis export paved the way for shipping Greek food products to China. Those moves were deemed as mutually beneficial, particularly in the aftermath of the pandemic.
Aerial photo taken on Sept. 6, 2019 shows a cargo ship of COSCO SHIPPING Lines transporting Italian products to participate in the 2019 China International Import Expo (CIIE) berths at the Port of Piraeus in Greece. (Photo by Lefteris Partsalis/Xinhua)
In south-western Polish town of Boleslawiec, pottery -- one of the country's most exquisite cultural icons -- has been manufactured by local artisans for centuries.
However, like other industries, the handicraft business has been dealt a body blow from the pandemic. "The coronavirus crisis has resulted in specialty shops closing around the world," Helena Smolenska, Director of Ceramic Handicraft Cooperative in Boleslawiec, told Xinhua.
The cooperative, boasting a 130-year history and hiring over 400 employees, faced an existential threat in the wake of the pandemic. "Regular orders have mostly dried up, and we halted production in the entire month of April and the first half of May," the director said.
Right after the production resumed, a "large order" from Wuhan, China, gave a respite to the manufacturer.
Helena didn't go into detail about the order, but she hoped that the "auspicious order" could entail more from China and across the world, as "around 90 percent of the cooperative's revenue comes from export."
A China-Europe freight train bound for Duisburg of Germany pulls out of the Wuhan terminal of China Railway Intermodal in Wuhan, central China's Hubei Province, March 28, 2020. (Xinhua/Xiao Yijiu)
MUCH NEEDED GROWTH
German carmaker Daimler announced last week an almost 30 percent year-on-year decline of global deliveries to car dealers in May. Nevertheless, its premium brand Mercedes-Benz achieved a double-digit growth in China.
"The retail sales in our biggest market China provide us with optimism," said Britta Seeger, member of the board of management of Daimler and Mercedes Benz, responsible for sales and marketing.
Daimler's core brand would get "step by step back to normality." After a production suspension caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, Mercedes-Benz car plants had successfully restarted production.
Adidas, another renowned German brand, had to shut down more than 70 percent of its store fleet due to the worldwide restrictions and lockdowns. But the sportswear manufacturer's business in China returned to growth in May "earlier-than-expected," becoming the company's "first major market on the road to recovery."
Vehicles are seen at a car dealership of Volkswagen in Berlin, capital of Germany, May 7, 2020. (Photo by Binh Truong/Xinhua)
Following the return to growing revenues in China, Adidas would now expect sales in the region for the second quarter to approximately reach the level of last year.
China has been the primary market for Jaguar Land Rover (JLR) in recent years, and the British multinational automotive company has seen a recovery in vehicle sales and customers are returning to its showrooms in China.
"The company remains confident in the future market potential in China," Lisa Palmer, JLR's Corporate Affairs Manager, told Xinhua, adding that JLR continues to have a strong, unwavering commitment to the Chinese market and customers.
JLR's recovery is also reflected by the resumed production and export of its engines in various plants, including the one in Changshu, China, which has delivered 1,300 engines to the UK for assembling. ■