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By Wanxia Lin
     BEIJING (MNI) - China could consider broader coordination with Japan and
South Korea to safeguard supply chains disrupted by the coronavirus outbreak,
Wei Jianguo, former vice minister of commerce, told MNI in an interview on
Wednesday.
     "The three countries could strengthen communication on their production
chains, supply chains, and consumer markets, as well as share information about
epidemic control," said Wei, now vice chairman of the China Center for
International Economic Exchanges.
     Although production is resuming across China as new cases of the virus
decline, outbreaks in both Japan and Korea could cause additional disruption
given that these two countries supply more than 50% of electronic materials and
around 30% of electronic components and equipment for China.
     "It is very difficult to find new suppliers in the short term," said Wei.
     Temporary coordination led by governments involving customs,
transportation, quarantine and health departments could help manufacturers in
all three countries better match their supply and demand to minimise the
epidemic impact, said Wei, who believes big data will play an important role in
the effort.
     --SMALL MANUFACTURERS
     Wei still sees Q1 growth at around 5% and full year growth hitting target
if most manufacturers return to production in March, although he estimates it
will take another three or four months for domestic manufacturers to resume full
capacity.
     "We can still achieve 6% growth this year," said Wei.
     Factories in Zhejiang province have booked aeroplanes and buses to collect
migrant workers from their hometowns, while the resumption of over 90% of
central government-owned producers will ensure supply of raw materials, helping
the whole chain, he said.
     Small and medium-sized manufacturers should also better coordinate their
production, helped by government, to avoid losing orders and markets, said Wei.
Companies should be encouraged to tap into markets which have not been affected
by the virus to obtain new orders, or switch production to meet demand for
masks, disinfectant and medicines. 
--MNI London Bureau; tel: +44 203-586-2225; email: les.commons@marketnews.com
--MNI Beijing Bureau; +86 (10) 8532-5998; email: wanxia.lin@marketnews.com
--MNI London Bureau; +44 203 865 3829; email: jason.webb@marketnews.com
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