In Togo, news of China reopening its borders to the world is has been welcomed by local traders.
China will scrap its COVID quarantine for overseas arrivals measure starting January 8, 2023 after three years of tight restrictions.
In this market, the largest in the country, two thirds of products come from China.
Abdul and his brothers used to go one business trips three to four times a year in the world’s 2nd economy. But when the pandemic hit, they had to come up with alternatives.
"When china closed its borders, we would order our goods via Whatsapp or Wechat [Editor's note: social media services.] We sent samples and we received some, but it was not good quality products. We’re very happy now because we’ll be able to take our time, to make the trip and buy quality products instead of 'fakes'."
"It's good news for us to go back to China to check and make what I want myself. It's great news for us traders," adds another trader.
According to the general manager of international business strategy at China Tourism Group Travel Service Corporation, the number of calls to inquire about overseas travel has increased in the country. However, if the excitement is real so is the caution in Togo.
"We want to go to China. Because they say that the covid-19 is over and that the Chinese borders are opening. But we think that there are hidden conditions or taxes and restrictions that we don't know yet. I would prefer that more courageous traders make the trip and come and talk to us and then we will follow.
Togo imported goods from China worth US$ 442 million in 2020, according to the World Bank’s WITS.
Starting from January 8, travellers to China will have to provide a negative PCR test taken within 48 hours before boarding to enter the country.
Current policy requires five days of quarantine at a centralized facility, followed by three days at home.