International procurement + Herbal remedy against Covid
From ballpoint pens to highway bridges – government agencies spend billions each year through public procurement. So it is no wonder that Western companies are repeatedly outraged by China's procurement practices. Agencies in the People's Republic favor domestic companies. And abroad, Chinese companies undermine fair competition with dumping prices. But the EU now wants to remedy the situation. A new instrument aims to make the European procurement market fairer and force China to open its market. However, the question whether this will succeed remains open, analyzes Amelie Richter.
Hundreds of millions of people in China are affected by Covid lockdowns. In Shanghai, food and medicine even became scarce at one point. Instead, citizens received mass quantities of traditional herbal mixtures. These supplies are probably intended to achieve two things: They are supposed to demonstrate that the government is doing something for its citizens and can provide them with medicine. And they promote the international reputation of traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) as an alternative to Western science.
But these herbal capsules are also controversial in the country, reports Fabian Kretschmer. Their effect has not been proven by studies, instead, they may even have side effects. For manufacturers, however, it is a billion-dollar business.