Chinese companies can sue US government for COVID-19 losses: expert

By Bai Yunyi Published: 2020/4/23 1:46:25

A pedestrian wearing a face mask walks past a closed shop in San Mateo City, California, the United States, April 2, 2020. Photo: Xinhua

Due to the mishandling of the spread of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) in the US, some Chinese companies and associations could file lawsuits against the US government, demanding compensation for their losses while experts in China's legal sphere have started research and risk-evaluation on this matter in the past two weeks, sources told the Global Times on Wednesday.

Some Chinese companies, which have seen their orders cut due to actions taken by the US government in fighting the pandemic, could sue the federal government or relevant state governments for compensation, and those with affiliates in the US could directly file the lawsuit in the country, Zhu Ying, deputy director of the National Human Rights Education and Training Base of Southwest University of Political Science and Law, told the Global Times.

Those without subsidiaries or branches in the US could file suits in China in China's Intermediate People's Court or above.

The preferable option is for companies bearing losses to file class action suits against the US government through business chambers, associations or civil groups.

Chinese makers of cigarette lighters have won an antidumping suit launched by European competitors, the first such victory since China joined the World Trade Organization in 2003, which was filed through the local lighter producers' association.

Many domestic companies resumed work in February as the epidemic gradually improved in China. However, the worsening situation in the US led to order losses among many export-driven businesses, significantly impacting Chinese factories and people.

"Lack of governance and mishandling of the pandemic by the federal government is a major reason for Chinese companies to bear losses," an anonymous expert on global affairs told the Global Times.

Chinese legal experts have started studying the feasibility and risks of suing the US government in the past two weeks, Zhu said.

"As long as they have evidence and their arguments are logical, Chinese companies and civil associations absolutely have reason to file lawsuit against the US," the expert added.


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