Event Review | U.S. Consulate General Chengdu Briefing about the Recent Update

On April 14th, 2020, AmCham Southwest China  successfully held the U.S. Consulate General Chengdu  Briefing about the Recent Update. U.S. Consulate General Chengdu Consul General Jim Mullinax, together withConsular Section American Citizen Service Chief, exchanged in-depth views on COVID-19 situation, visa information, prospects for US companies investing in China, travel ban, etc. This conference attracted dozens of AmCham members and more than 100 CEOs and senior managers from Fortune 500 companies and local well-known enterprises, including Alston & Bird LLP, Cunmins, EOG Resources China, GIA, Heralex Communications Ltd., HOPEWINNER, JW Marriott Hotel Chongqing, Keysight Technoloies, LAOWAI HERE, Leman International School, Metlife, MPS, QL Heat Energy US LLC, Sichuan INGIA Biosynthetic Technology, Student Educare, STY, Sunels Group, The St.Regis Chengdu, The Temple House, Triumph Aerostructures Vought Aircraft Technical Services, Wall-Face, etc.

First of all, Vanilla Wu, General Manager of AmCham Southwest China, made an opening introduction of this online briefing. Then, Mr. Jim Mullinax, Consul General of the U.S. Consulate General Chengdu shared the remarks about the recent update, including COVID-19 Situation in the United States, Mission China’s PPE Task Force, Donations to the U.S., Travel Restrictions and Visa Services, and US/China Phase One Trade Deal Progress Report. During the Q&A session, Consul General and the Consular Section American Citizen Service Chief  thoughtfully answered the questions raised by AmCham members and friends. In the end, Mr. Benjamin Wang, Chairman of AmCham Southwest, outlined the efforts of the AmCham Southwest have made during this special period, and appealed to more companies and individuals for actively taking social responsibility while promoting their own development.Together, with care for each other, we will surmount this difficult time.

During this special period, AmCham Southwest will continue to maintain closely contact with provincial and municipal governments. In the coming work, we will bring real-time policy interpretations regularly to members and friends. We’re also expecting more feedback to help us to hold more beneficial events in the future.

MEETING MINUTES

Q1: What is advice for people whose visas have already expired or are due to do so shortly. And how do you think they should proceed. 

A1: You can contact us through the e-mail: [email protected], or check in the website: https://www.ustraveldocs.com/. There are many specific questions you may have, and you will get some feedback and what you need to do next.

Q2: For the people who want to study in the U.S., what advice will you give to them?

A2: For the students who have not yet received the visa, they need to wait. There are several exceptions, like national interest exemptions, to those individuals who have some special abilities or skills that are helping the U.S. fight against coronavirus. And that’s something we can deal with, so for those individuals that you can contact us and then we will help you with this service. Please contact us using the email or website listed above.

Q3: How should we ask if we have additional questions about visas.

A3: You can visit the website: https://www.ustraveldocs.com/. There we have contracted personnel who will communicate through live chat and there is also a telephone number to help. Many initial questions can be answered there. Another option is emailing [email protected], but the response time may take more than 24 hours.

Q4: How long the 19nCoV impact the global economy?

A4: That a very big and difficult question to answer. I will say that if we go back to 2003 or 2004 during the SARS crisis, the impact on the global economy even though was relatively small, compared to the COVID-19, yet still had significant impact on trade and economic growth for many countries for quite some time. And what we are facing today is what probably most similar to the Spanish Flu from the first part of the 20th century, about 100 years ago. And at that time, you saw the toll from that epidemic, millions of people were infected around the world, and the economic costs were enormous. And I think that we are going to be dealing with this certainly all the way through 2020, and most likely into 2021, and probably beyond that as well. Over the next several years, what’s we’ve lost here in China will be lost in Europe and the U.S… It will be hard for us to make up those losses and come back to the same level. So I think it will impact us for years to come. I think we all have to consider how we’re going to be able to move forward to that we are able to return to business as usual.

Q5: Will the Consulate ship in from US the test kits for COVID-19 and for the antibody?

A5: At this time, we are not planning to export test kits to China. If I understand the question correctly, that’s what you are asking. In fact, under the Defense Production Act, we’re trying our best to make sure that all of the supply of test kits we have in the U.S. is made available to the US citizens who need them. And right now, we have tremendous need for test kits, as a matter of fact, we are importing these test kits from China, Malaysia, and other places in order to serve the needs of American citizens back home. In fact, I will say that China is processing its own test kits and they’ve done quite reasonable job I think. The test kits that China is using, many of them, are high-quality and quite accurate. That is part of the reason why we still import test kits from China. I recognize that China has done an incredible job in testing and treating COVID-19.

Q6: How do you see the U.S. business investment in China?

A6: Well, all businesses are going to make their own decisions about where they want to invest and how they want to spend their money. I think for many businesses, because of the economic crisis, the uncertainty in the current business environment is likely going to cause them to think their investment plans. And certainly not all investment is going to stop, if US companies want to invest in China, from the US side certainly they’re welcoming to do so. I’m sure that Chinese authorities will be very happy to welcome American investment. But you know this is a difficult economic time, so it’s hard to predict which industries might be willing to continue to invest. Everyone is taking a hard look now at what is really important, where they can continue to operate and when they need to be cut back. But from our perspective, we don’t have any restrictions. We’re not encouraging or discouraging anybody from doing things that make sense to them.

Q7: Any hard quarantine for US Citizens going back to their hometown?

A7: That’s a very good question. Because the quarantine regulations vary from locality to locality, I can’t answer specifically. But I can say that every state has their own policies and their own requirements, and many states are requiring people to quarantine at home for two weeks before going out. The degree to which they are enforcing that varies from place to place. If you want to go back to the United States, as an American citizen you certainly can go back to the U.S., and you won’t face any restrictions on your return. However, your locale may have its own individual requirements, so I’ll encourage you that before your travel, reach out to your local government and inquire about the restrictions of each place for the travelers coming from China.

Q8: For US citizens with China visas expired but cannot go back to US, what should they do?

A8: One of the best things to do is to contact the local entry/exit bureau that is responsible for dealing with Chinese immigration issues. There are some telephone numbers (scroll down to check the contacts) for Chengdu and Chongqing to help you . If you are still a local resident, you can go to the local police station where you registered yourself and they can also give you some assistance if you have difficulty. Local officials across China have been very understanding when it comes to the individuals who are here in China and are not able to return. And in some instances, they’ve already granted automatic extensions because the COVID-19 situation. By and large, for American citizens here, they have been granted an exemption for the time being. And it helps out the situation quite a bit. But we do advise you to get in touch with the Chinese authorities to make sure that all the problems that arise from that.

Q9: What is your plan for the upcoming the National Sugar & Wine Trade Fair?

A9: As far as I know, Tangjiuhui is still scheduled to take place at the end of May (but now according to official announcement it will be postponed). And normally the U.S. would have a relatively sizable presence there, a lot of wineries and alcohol producers that would love this show. And I’m very interested in being a part of it, but this year I think it will be much more challenging to participate. And I’m not 100% sure that it’s going to be held, but it still on the schedule of late May. The COVID-19 pandemic is spreading to so many places around the world. And there are still very strict restrictions on foreigners entering China during this time. Many American companies who would normally be very eager to participate will find it difficult. If there is an interest on the part of US companies participating in the event and if the event does in fact go on as scheduled, we would like to have some representation there. And if the show does go on, we will do our best to try and have some type of pavilion or small booths there and do what we can do to promote US alcohol, wine, and other types of products.

Q10: When will the travel ban be lifted?

A10: I tried to address that in my broader comments, but you know the travel restrictions of the united states flow from Presidential Proclamation that was issued at the beginning of March. And in order for that to be lifted, the Presidential Proclamation will have to be reviewed. Given the global pandemic, it’s really unclear when the situation might be sufficiently stable to allow us to roll back these restrictions, not to mention the situation in the U.S. right now. At present, I don’t see it in our best interest to lift the travel restrictions in the US both for the health and safety of US citizens, but also for the health and safety of travelers coming to the US. At this time, we’re doing our best to get the COVID-19 under control in the US and the other parts of the world. And once we see that happening, we’ll be able to make a better guess about when we might be able to lift these restrictions. Given the trajectory of the US though I think that it’s going to be at least several months.

Q11: Any comments on Economic adviser Larry Kudlow’s call for US businesses operating in China to go back to America?

A11: Certainly we are very happy for the US businesses who have operations and are doing business in China, and to the extent that it makes business sense for businesses to move back to the united states or open up new facilities in the United States. Certainly we are very happy for that to happen. There are more American businesses that can provide jobs in the U.S. for the Americans and others. As I said, we’re not going to impose any particular restrictions on American companies doing business here in China, and we’re not going to discourage companies from doing business in China. It’s important for companies to think about how to better serve the markets. And during this pandemic situation, I think many companies are required to rethink their business strategies. For many companies may mean perhaps thinking about ways to diversify their supply chains and operations. And for others, that may mean their new investment in China. For many products, we would like to see a certain type of medicines and medical supplies, and see more manufacturing of these products in the U.S.. So I expect as time goes by, you will see policies designed to encourage companies to also produce these types of essential goods in the US. I don’t believe that necessarily is going to restrict any companies from producing in other places, if they say they choose to do that for business reasons.

Q12: During the pandemic, many Chinese students came back to China, what will be the impact if they want to return to the United States to study in the future?

A12: For the Chinese students who were studying in the United States and who came back to China and are not able to return back to their course study, they should be communicating with their universities to discuss the terms of their enrollment. And I am confident that for most students who are in good standing with universities, they should have no problems in the future and should be able to continue their education in the United States if they choose to do so. The universities are very eager to bring students back, not just Chinese students but all students. And I’m sure that as long as the students are in good standing, once we are able to reopen for normal visa services, they will have no problems to get visas and being able to return to the US to continue their studies.

Q13:Is the U.S. Citizen Services office open these days?

A13:Yes, currently it is open for the American citizens. Throughout the crisis, we did remain open to help US citizens who need assistance with renewing their passports, getting Consular Reports of Birth Abroad for their children, and notarial services. All across China the Embassy and Consulates have appointments available. Please make an appointment and we’ll be happy to provide you with these services.

 

Consulate Contact Information

Chengdu PSB Exit & Entry Administration

1 Ren Min Xi Lu, Chengdu, Sichuan

Phone: (28)8640-7074/8640-7067

Hours(Monday-friday): 09: 00-17: 00

Note: The normal processing time for Chinese visa is 5 business days.

 

Chongqing PSB Exit & Entry Administration

#311 Jinshi Ave, Yu Bei District, Chongqing

Phone: (23)6396-1944,(23)6396-2000

Hours( Monday- Friday):09:00-12:00,14:00-17:00

Note: The normal processing time for Chinese visa is 5 business days.

CONSULATE GENERAL OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA

No 4 Lingshiguan Lu, Wuhou District, Chengdu, Sichuan, China 610041

American Citizen Service(ACS)Resources:

General Consulate Phone: (8628)8558-3992

General Consulate Fax: (8628)8554-6229 / 8558-3520

After-Hours Emergency Line: (86 10)8531-4000

ACS Email: Amcitchengdu(@state. gov

Travel/Registration Information: https://travel.stategov/

General Consulate Website: https://china.usembassy-china.org.cn

ACS Appointment: https://evisaforms.stategov/acs/

ACS Appointment Hours: Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays 13: 00-16: 00   |  Closed U. S and Chinese Holidays