China has issued a record number of force majeure certificates in an attempt to exempt local exporters from fulfilling contractual agreements with overseas buyers as the country struggles with the fallout from the coronavirus outbreak, reported the Financial Times.
Companies that have already been issued with the legal “exemption” papers include steelworks, electronics companies, carmakers and auto parts suppliers.
The China Council for the Promotion of International Trade, a quasi-governmental body, said on Friday last week that it had handed out 3,325 certificates covering contracts worth a combined Rmb 270 billion ($38.5 billion) since the beginning of February. A CCPIT official confirmed the organization had never handed out so many for a single reason.
The CCPIT began issuing the force majeure certificates this month to provide proof of holiday extension or lockdowns to disease-hit factories that wanted to revise their contracts.