China has issued 4,318 force majeure certificates as of Thursday to protect companies from legal damage arising from the novel coronavirus epidemic, data released by the China Council for the Promotion of International Trade showed.

A total of 99 trade promotional agencies and industry chambers have issued these certificates for Chinese exporters across various sectors, covering a total contract value of 330.8 billion yuan ($47.2 billion).

Companies from 27 provinces, autonomous region and municipalities have applied for such documents. Branches of the CCPIT also have expanded their service range from cities into counties across the country, said Zhang Hanrong, an official at CCPIT’s commercial service center.

Based on international practice, exporters usually declare force majeure when they are unable to meet contractual obligations for reasons beyond their control, according to a statement released by Beijing-headquartered CCPIT.

The issued certificates cover more than 30 industries in China. Among them, the application rates from five business areas – manufacturing, wholesale and retail, construction, leasing and business services, and power generation equipment production are notably higher than other sectors.

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